Pop traders Bharat & Jean help turn murky storage space into brand spanking new gym for local club Afewee

Afewee founder Steadman Scott shows off his new gym

Afewee Boxing & Football Club, an integral part of the Brixton community, was set up by local Steadman Scott in ’97 in order to fill a gap in society. Seeing young black teenagers and kids spending their spare time out on the street, Scott, who’d been working for Crystal Palace FC, sought to create direction, purpose and discipline in the lives of youngsters via his football (and later boxing) club.

The aim is to create a positive environment for kids who might not otherwise experience one. At Afewee, rules are important: ‘We show that that it takes discipline, hard work and sacrifice to succeed.’ The kids also see that they are striving for something worthwhile, as their peers win places in top sporting teams: as of today, the club has seen more than twenty of its alumni win scholarships or professional signings with teams that include Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool.

Afewee training has taken place in Brixton Rec since the very beginning. But recently, in need of an upgraded gym, Scott approached Pop Brixton for some support. He found himself in touch with Bharat & Jean, spatial designers who turned out to be just the right people to help the club out.

Pop Brixton businesses are part of a local Community Investment Scheme, a project that links up businesses with local community groups and charities to help those businesses give back to their local community. Every business gives back at least 1 hour per week to the local community.

‘We told them we had funding, and how we wanted it, and they drew it up with graphics software. When we needed the plans adjusted, we just asked them and they were happy to help.’ The partnership was fruitful, as you can see in the picture above – and Scott gives the scheme a solid review: ‘if you know what you want, they’ll give you a helping hand.’

Other organisations supported by the scheme include Tulse Hill’s GLOW project, who are receiving some help with the design of their new co-working space, Brixton Rec Users’ Group, who new Pop business Azeus are helping with their marketing strategy, and children’s art group Kids Kreate! who are receiving mentoring to help them set up and run a crowdfunder.

If you’re a community group and you’d like to explore how you could benefit from the project, get in touch with Lucy via lucy@brixtonpound.org.

We’ve covered the history of Brixton’s renowned local club Afewee before here, and you can also read more about them in the Guardian.

The Pop Brixton Community Investment Scheme is a way for local groups to access support in the form of free workshops, training and work placements, as well as more bespoke support along the lines of that provided by Bharat & Jean here.

Brixton Fund spotlight: Brixton Design Trail Pressgang

At our Brixton Fund event last month we funded six awesome local projects.

One of those was the Brixton Design Trail Pressgang, a work experience project run by local youth employment enterprise Raw Talent. Founder Abigail believes that work experience is too often an uninspiring activity, and she’s on a mission to change that!

The BDT Pressgang is an example of how a week of work experience can become a transformative and inspirational experience – one that ultimately meets Raw Talent’s aims of helping  disadvantaged young people overcome the barriers to finding fulfilling work.

Teaming up with Brixton Design Trail, students responded to a specific brief: to research, develop and produce content to support the Design Trail in the leadup to Design Week in September.

Working on a specific project with clear outcomes helps students engage more wholly in work experience and gives them the chance to accomplish a real piece of work, developed as a project through the stages from conception to completion.

As a fully functioning media team, students went out into the streets of Brixton to conduct research, meeting businesses, artists and residents and taking photos, filming segments and conducting interviews.

Students visited Pop Brixton, amongst other places, to talk to the businesses there about their participation in Design Week. To supplement the project work, they also took part in mini CV writing, social media and events management workshops run for free by Pop businesses through the Community Investment Scheme.

The students really enjoyed their week, especially working in teams, meeting new people and writing the stories about the Brixton Design Trail. Linda Quinn, editor of our esteemed local newspaper the Brixton Bugle, was impressed with the quality of writing and is planning a spread for the September edition. Watch this space!

Are you a Brixton business who can help share your skills to with local young people by offering some work experience? Or are you a young person interested in finding meaningful work experience or participating in employment & careers-related workshops? Get in touch with Lucy (lucy @ brixtonpound.org).

Brixton Design Trail is a collaborative creative network that provides a platform for showcasing a wealth of homegrown talent during the London Design Festival, which will take place 16-24th September.

 

Did you catch it? Baytree Centre’s Point of View exhibition

Our latest exhibition was by a group of girls from the Baytree Centre, a local hub on Brixton Road where women and girls can access support through education, training and social programmes.

They worked with homeless people in Brixton to create an exhibition showcasing their perspectives, with support from the Brixton Soup Kitchen.

They showcased the pictures at a launch event at the Brixton Pound Cafe. You can read more about it here.

At the Brixton Pound we support local artists and creative projects by offering low cost exhibition space and studio facilities, either upstairs in our cafe or in our large basement. We’re always on the lookout for local artists to stage exhibitions at our cafe. If you’re interested, get in touch!

Photos credit Alan Slingsby

Help 4 Refugee Children @ The Brixton Pound Cafe this Saturday!

Come along to a festival hosted by Help 4 Refugee Children at the Brixton Pound Cafe this Saturday, as part of Refugee Week. Loads of activities, fun and the chance to chat to volunteers, including the Dunkirk Childrens’ Center and many more, who have been at the forefront of supporting refugee and displaced children in Europe.

The day will include music performances, face painting, creative art workshops (including t-shirt printing) and music activities giving visitors the chance to experience the work our organisations have done with refugee children, families and unaccompanied minors in Calais and Dunkirk.

Citizens of the World Choir will be opening the event on Saturday at 11:30am at the Brixton Pound Cafe. Please come along early to kick off the day with a warm welcome and gorgeous music.

Find out more about the event and the work of Help 4 Refugee Children here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1518115624897254

Buon appetito for local students at Pop Brixton!

Students from local Lansdowne School visited Pop for a tour in early June, where they learnt how to make their very own pasta! Everyone had a go kneading and then shaping the pasta, and one particularly skilful student was crowned Masterchef… After another hands on session designing weird and wonderful beasts with Ella from Into Art, followed by a mini disco in the Popbox, they replenished their energy by eating the fruits of their labour – fresh pasta with a tomato ragu.

Thanks to Stefania and Pietro at Franzina Trattoria who shared their secret Sicilian pasta skills with the Year 11s, Ella who helped inspire some beautiful drawings, and Jack at Container Records who helped them unwind with some bangin’ tunes to finish it all off…

If you’re interested in bringing a group of students or young people to Pop to experience pasta making, a Japanese calligraphy workshop, hear inspiring careers talks and more, get in touch with Lucy at the Brixton Pound: lucy @ brixtonpound.org

Sunday Feasts throughout June at the Brixton Pound

Where: Brixton Pound Cafe, 77 Atlantic Road
When: Every Sunday in June from 13:00 to 15:00
What: Food and community
Who: Everyone

Every Sunday in June we shall be hosting community meals at the Brixton Pound cafe on Atlantic Road.

The concept is simple: we are taking perfectly edible surplus food donated to us by local restaurants and businesses and we are turning into a delicious and nutritious feast for our local community.

We want to welcome all members of our community into our cafe and for that we reason we are serving the food on a pay what you feel basis.

What does pay what you feel mean? It means that you pay what you can afford, it means you pay what you think the food (and the project) is worth, and it doesn’t just mean that you pay us with money. Are you an amazing chef? Then maybe you can donate your time in our cafe? Maybe you work in a food business and you would be able to donate your surplus food to us? There are many ways that you can pay and contribute to the project. Either ask in the cafe or email cafe@brixtonpound.org and we can discuss it through.

All proceeds go towards supporting our work in Brixton, including the Brixton Fund – on Wednesday 28 June we’ll be holding our next Fund event, so let’s give it a boost with some busy Sundays!

The menu will vary from week to week, but it will be all vegetarian with gluten free and vegan options available.

We’re hiring! Come and work in our cafe

Join our team at the Brixton Pound Cafe

Are you a budding barista? Do you have flair and panache in the kitchen? Are you imaginative and creative? Would you like to be part of a friendly local community?

We’re currently looking for new people to staff our pay-as-you-feel café in central Brixton.

We make tasty vegan and vegetarian sandwiches, salads, soups and top quality teas and coffees. Where possible we aim to source our ingredients from items that would otherwise go to waste. We regularly receive donations from local food businesses and therefore adapt our menu depending on what is available.

We are looking for someone who is:

  • Experienced working in a cafe or coffee shop and using a manual coffee machine
  • Passionate about food and creative in the kitchen – you’ll be able to think up dishes based on what’s in stock, and make them our daily specials
  • Excellent dealing with customers
  • Personable and able to work alongside colleagues and volunteers
  • Flexible with the rota, and happy to do the occasional Saturday
  • Aware of kitchen hygiene, food and drink preparation, ideally with a level 1 or 2 in food safety
  • Confident working as part of a team and independently in a busy work environment
  • Happy talking to the public about the Brixton Pound and the ethos and aims of our project

What we offer:

  • The opportunity to be creative and to work with a small social enterprise with a unique progressive ethos
  • Competitive hourly rate
  • Free meal & all the coffee you can drink whilst on shift
  • A chance to be part of a dynamic Brixton community
  • Up to 16 hours a week available

To apply, please email your cover letter and cv to keisha@brixtonpound.org or drop it in to our café at 77 Atlantic Road, Brixton SW9 8PU

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The money raised by sales at the Brixton Pound Café goes towards the Brixton Fund, which funds community projects in the area. Our ethos is on sustainability, community and inclusivity, and we aim to sell food made primarily from surplus goods that local businesses would otherwise throw out.

Sign up for Brixton’s first Action for Happiness course at the B£ Cafe!

We’re excited to be hosting Brixton’s first Action for Happiness course, an 8-week course for people interested in exploring what matters for a happy and meaningful life.

“In the modern world we are bombarded with false messages about what makes for a happy life. The Exploring What Matters course helps people discover for themselves that real success has much less to do with what we earn or consume – and much more to do with our inner attitudes, our relationships with others and our contribution to society”.

-Dr Mark Williamson, Director, Action for Happiness

A challenge to the materialism and doctrine of individual success that predominates in today’s society, Exploring What Matters sees a group of likeminded, curious people meeting for eight weeks to explore key factors that shape our lives, and determine our wellbeing. They start with “What really matters in life?” and then “What really makes us happy?”. These are followed by sessions on dealing with adversity, having good relationships, caring for others, and creating happier workplaces and communities. They end with “How can we create a happier world?

Analysis of the course has found that it leaves people both happier and more pro-social, with participants reporting increases in levels of life satisfaction, mental wellbeing, compassion and social trust. It’s delivered by community volunteers, and is supported by the Dalai Lama (!) … https://www.youtube.com/embed/rakF28bExMU?rel=0&autoplay=1

Sound good? Sign up for your place here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-action-for-happiness-course-brixton-22-may-2017-tickets-34101744235?aff=efbevent

The first session kicks off on 22 May 2017 at The Brixton Pound Cafe, 77 Atlantic Rd.

See you there!

New: Yoga classes in Brixton Pound studios

We’re very pleased that we’ll soon be starting yoga classes in the studio space below our cafe.

Yoga with Sarah (every Monday): 8am-9am Vinyasa Flow. 10.30am-11.30am Parent and baby yoga. £10/drop-in

Yoga with Mary (every Friday): Mindful yoga flow 11am-12pm beginners, 12pm-1pm intermediate. £10/drop-in

Yoga and meditation with Melanie (starting Saturday 17th): Hatha Flow with meditation, all levels, 12.00pm-1.15pm. Pay-what-you-feel (£8 recommended).

All our teachers are keen to get to know students and make it a social experience as well, so there will be a coffee/tea in the cafe after classes for anyone who would like to join in!

Sarah was an education consultant for more than a decade but in 2012 left for Latin America. Discovering yoga as a sustainable way of life, she qualified to teach in 2013 and began giving one-to-one classes, teaching small groups in offices and at a studio in Crystal Palace. She completed 500 hours training in India, studying the styles of Iyengar and Ashtanga with focus on alignment and adjustment, practicing under gurus in Mysore and learning Thai yoga massage to enhance her anatomical knowledge. She specialises in the styles of Ashtanga, Yin & acro-yoga and she recently added parent & baby yoga to her qualifications after attending classes with her own baby. She also teaches wellbeing classes & mindfulness yoga to students and staff in secondary schools. Her classes are dynamic yet playful, flowing but structured, encouraging students to feel grounded and energised.

Mary first turned to yoga as a way of keeping fit, sane and anchored while working in a manic advertising role. She also found it highly useful in dealing with her increasing anxiety. In 2011 she decided to press pause on the rat race; completing her 200 hour teacher training on a retreat in Dahab, Egypt; her mother’s homeland. The country had an intense pull on her so she relocated there shortly after, teaching her Vinyasa style classes to ex-pats, holidaymakers, Egyptian and Bedouin women, which she describes as an enlightening experience.

Returning to live once more in London in 2014 she went on to complete an 80 hour Pregnancy teacher training with Yogamama Ltd. Her yoga promotes balance, flexibility and strength, whilst the mindfulness techniques along with breathwork help develop an openhearted awareness of the present moment. You will leave feeling relaxed, energised and grounded. Resources are also provided to help you develop a personal practice at home.

Are you a yoga teacher looking for an affordable space in Brixton to run your classes? Get in touch spacehire@brixtonpound.org

Brixton Windmill pops up in Pop Brixton

You might not have noticed the little logo on the page of Brixton’s local newspaper, the Bugle. It’s a silhouette of a windmill. And not just any windmill – it’s the Brixton Windmill. Located a little way up Brixton Hill, tucked amidst the houses of Blenheim Gardens in a unique urban setting, the Windmill has been around for 200 years, and through the twists and turns of history has now lovingly been restored to working order.

In March, the Friends of Windmill Gardens brought the Windmill to central Brixton, running a pop up stall in Pop Brixton to raise funds and launch their summer programme. The Friends are the spiritual guardians of the Windmill: a group of local volunteers who manage and maintain the mill and its grounds, recruit volunteers, and raise funds. Most recently they have embarked on an exciting new project to build an Education Centre in the grounds, which will ultimately make the Windmill more accessible and user friendly for its diverse range of visitors, including school groups and young people.

As part of Pop’s Community Investment Scheme, they took over an empty unit where they sold merchandise and promoted their 2017 programme http://www.brixtonwindmill.org/visit, which kicked off on 25 March. The Windmill opens for volunteer-led tours of the mill and gardens on scheduled weekends, which are very popular, so make sure you book. And don’t miss the renowned Beer and Bread Festival [http://brixtonwindmill.org/whats-on?item=161] which takes place on bank holiday Monday 1 May, with beer, bread, live music and Morris men.

The Friends also sold their locally milled Brixton flour (produced in the Windmill itself by their tireless volunteer millers – if you’re interested in becoming one, get in touch with the Friends!) If you missed the pop up, you can buy Brixton Windmill flour from Brixton Whole Foods, the Old Post Office Bakery, Cornercopia, F Mondays, Dulwich Picture Gallery, and our own Brixton Pound Café.

Friends of Windmill Gardens visited Pop Brixton as part of the Brixton Pound’s community investment scheme, through which Brixton businesses give back to the local community in varied ways. If you’re a community organisation, project or school interested in benefiting from the scheme, get in touch with Lucy (lucy @ brixtonpound.org) to find out more.