#BrixtonBonus – Meet The Winner: Manda

Brixton Bonus has another winner! On the last Friday of January the Brixton Grand went to Manda Glanfield, a longtime B£ user and supporter, who wrote a very nice guest blog post for us last winter about shopping local for Christmas. Well, she will have even more opportunity to shop local all year round now with B£1,000 to spend!  Manda has told us lots of interesting things about her Bonus experience so far:

“It was my birthday on the Wednesday before the draw, and I was planning to have some friends over for dinner on Saturday, but instead I took them all out to Negril for a celebratory dinner on me! I used to live close to Negril, I love it. So that was a very nice thing to do, but I also want to start using B£s a lot more in my everyday.”

“But first of all, I want to thank everyone who plays Brixton Bonus, and say – it could be you next time! I had been playing since the lottery started in the summer, I was at Lambeth Country Show where you had your first draw. I had a recurring entry for one ticket a month, but in January I thought, I haven’t won anything yet, let’s up my recurring entry to five tickets and see what happens. And then boom! I won the big prize. I’m going keep my 5 tickets a month, that way I get these nice rewards and support the scheme.”

“I usually use B£ to buy gifts for birthdays, Christmas, and other occasions. I do that for a lot of reasons: to shop local, support independent businesses, but also because it gives the gifts a bit of a theme. I’m sure my nieces would prefer a gift voucher for TopShop, but I think there’s something nice about getting a handmade leather wallet or notebook from Malika. But right now, I want to challenge myself to spend B£s on more things I have to buy anyway, more essential stuff. I’m actually a bit broke, and I won a thousand pounds, so this is a great opportunity to see how many usual things I can buy with B£ – to save money, and to do things a bit differently.”

“It’s literally like being given a lot of vouchers – and it’s an adventure, to explore and discover what’s out there. I want to donate some of my prize too – I’ve already supported the Brixton and Norwood Foodbank. I was also thinking about something that’s a bit more of an experiment – I want to give a few of my friends B£20 each and see what they do with it, and I’d like them to report back to me about their experiences of spending it. Maybe that would get them to sign up and use B£s regularly after that? I think it should be quite a fun way of connecting. I might even set up a blog to document it all.”

“I want to try all these lovely food places that I wouldn’t normally be able to go to. Opus on Acre Lane is fantastic, and the owner is so proud to be accepting B£. He told me he was supporting the scheme from the start, was one of the first to sign up, and actually makes an effort to spend the B£s he earns in the area at other participating shops – it was really inspiring to hear. Another great place I went to was French & Grace – OMG, it was so delicious! I had a gorgeous wrap, and aubergine chips. Seriously, if you want a treat, get their aubergine chips with homemade harissa ketchup! I really want to buy their cookbook too, it’s so beautiful and full of yummy looking recipes. I even thought I could challenge myself to cook each recipe from there, and see how many ingredients I could buy in B£s. I already went to Faiz Foods in the village, and at first I only saw the side of the shop with fizzy drinks and cans of MSG, but I was very relieved to see they actually have lots and lots of fresh fruit and veg – I will definitely be buying there. And I know Brixton Whole Foods take B£s, and they sell the Old Post Office Bakery bread which I love. Oh, and for the next year or so I’m gonna be drinking nothing but Federation coffee – they sell amazing coffee from around the world, grind the beans for you, and tell you lots of info about the blend and where it’s from… it’s incredibly expensive, so I would normally never do this. But now I can!”

“I am also definitely going to Studio 73 to buy some art. It’s a massive extravagance to me, cause it’s expensive and not essential, but I would like to have more – I don’t have enough of it. Artist Martin Grover is a friend of mine, and he’s got his work there. I love lots of local artists and want to support them. It would be great if Urban Art Fair accepted B£s, even as part of the payment – it would make art a bit more accessible.”

“I spent a bit of time looking through the B£ Directory to see where I can spend B£s on some other things I need. I thought of something that’s possibly the most boring piece of life admin – I need to make a will. So I started calling up the solicitors listed on the Directory – unfortunately the one firm that accepts B£s doesn’t actually make wills. The few others either merged with bigger firms or have dropped off the scheme, which is a shame. I also had no luck finding a hardware shop – I need a new drill.. but the shop on Acre Lane you had listed wasn’t there anymore. Similar story with the gas supplier who could fix my boiler. So this was a bit of a difficult start!” [ed. – B£ was very grateful for this info, and we have amended the Directory accordingly – it’s just become so big it’s sometimes difficult to stay on top of the constantly changing business landscape, particularly with businesses who only accept the paper currency – so we appreciate feedback like this! Manda was very pleased to find out that Morleys accept B£s and is planning to get lots of everyday, practical things there 🙂 ]

“I live in West Norwoord, I moved there two years ago. I used to live closer to Brixton, near Negril. But now I’ll come into Brixton a lot more! It takes a while to gel with a new community. But now I play piano in a band, Los Domingos. We got together after an Afro-Cuban Big Band course at City Lit. It’s the kind of music that’s loud and energetic, you can’t really play on your own, so when the course finished we decided to start the band and keep playing together. We’ve been doing this for over a year now. Come see us at the West Norwood Feast, we play the next one on 3rd April.”

“I’ve been thinking a lot about how strange winning money is. The Friday of the draw I also actually bought a National Lottery ticket, I was at my local garage paying for something and the man at the till offered me one saying I could win 99 million pounds that day. OK, go on then, I said, and got two tickets. It was a bit random, and I haven’t ever bought a lottery ticket… maybe once, 20 years ago. And then 10 minutes later I noticed a missed call – and that was B£ getting in touch to say I won the Brixton Bonus! I actually haven’t checked these lottery tickets yet, maybe I’ve won 99 million pounds too? That would be quite strange though I imagine, I bet that actually changes your life in ways that might not be so good. But I’m really looking forward to what the Brixton Bonus experiment will bring – I’ll keep you posted! It feels like a huge responsibility to win a thousand pounds, especially when there’s so much need around, but with a percentage of every B£ spent going into the Brixton Fund, I am hoping that by spending B£s I am supporting local community projects.