Category Archives: blog

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.

#yourpound: Celebration – Our 4th Birthday!

Doesn’t time fly! The Brixton Pound will be four years old at the end of September and we’d like you all to come and celebrate with us. Our existence has been marked by ever-increasing growth in the currency, as well as a commitment to innovation which makes us one of the most successful local currencies in the UK.

Four years and four great reasons to celebrate the Brixton Pound

Picture 9

1) We are the first local currency in an urban area in the UK (and London!)

2) We are the first local currency to introduce an electronic pay-by-text version

3) We are the first local currency to launch a business rates scheme, allowing local businesses to pay their council tax in Brixton Pounds

4) We are the first local currency to pilot payroll local, which allows all council employees (and other businesses too) to receive part of their salary in Brixton Pounds.

None of this would have been without the ongoing commitment of local businesses, the loyalty of our users, and the enthusiasm of our supporters in Brixton and beyond. To say thank you and to mark four years of keeping Brixton’s economy vibrant, we are inviting you all to join us on Thursday 19 September from 6.30pm at the wonderful Seven at Brixton in Market Row. For early arrivals we’ll greet you with a complimentary glass of sangria, and we’ll also be rewarding our top 3 pay-by-text users, as well as giving out prizes.

It will also be a chance for you to hear about how the Brixton Pound is going, and find out a bit more about local currencies around the world – which is convenient as 16-20 September is International Local Currencies Week!

Get the date in your diary, let your friends know and be sure to RSVP – space is limited!

Here is a short slideshow celebrating 4 incredible years!

B£ Birthday Slideshow from Brixton Pound on Vimeo.

 

 

#yourpound – Meet the Trader: Kaff Bar

This week we’re back to our meet the trader blogs and we have a very special business to write about…

If you’ve not yet visited Kaff Bar, you’re missing out! Kaff Bar is a hidden gem on Atlantic road. During the day it offers a welcoming and relaxed environment to chill, grab coffee and cake or a tasty lunch. The cakes are made locally and the food comes from local suppliers. There are a selection of books you can read and newspapers to read on weekends. We often find it to be the perfect place to have meetings or work on projects using their free wifi.

IMG_2519You might bump into Steve (pictured) who is the owner and manager. He or other members of staff can introduce you to a well-chosen selection of creative cocktails, beers, ciders and wines. We would recommend trying the Brixton Mule (white rum, local fresh ginger beer and lime juice) … its delicious and is available at the bargain price of £3 throughout the day! The cocktail menu has the shape of a deck of cards and your drinks may come from a jam jar, a mug, a soup can or even a milk bottle!

The entire atmosphere at the Kaff Bar is charming and welcoming: the unique wall paintings, the large vintage sofas, and the stage with the piano make the bar the perfect place to meet friends, have drinks and listen to good music.

Kaff Bar hosts regular events including ‘Meet Brixton’ arranged by the Brixton Blog and it also arranges nights with top local DJ’s, Bingo evenings and the Cake Club Cabaret (we can’t tell you more about it as the first rule of Cake Club is: ‘You don’t talk about Cake Club!’ – you’ll have to find out for yourself!).

So, what are you waiting for? Use your B£e to support the Kaff Bar. Make a special effort to support one of Brixton’s finest independent businesses this bank holiday weekend!

And remember to let us know what you think on Twitter… use the hash-tag: #yourpound!

#Yourpound – Meet the Trader: Satay Bar

Although we’re approaching the end of May it feels like it could be the middle of winter! Let’s hope the weather improves for ‘Shop Local’ day which getting closer. We hope that you’ve got the date in your diary and will be supporting Brixton’s local traders on the day. Remember you can increase your spending power by 10% by using B£ pay-by-text which is now accepted at 122 local businesses with more coming on board every week. Don’t be caught unprepared! Top up you pay-by-text account before the 15th June!

Now for this week’s blog…

Do you have a special event coming up? Are you looking for a good place to go for drinks before (or after!) going to the cinema? Or are just looking for somewhere to grab lunch during the week? Check out the wonderful Satay Bar. It is in the heart of Brixton, next door to the Ritzy.

satayday-copySatay Bar is a cocktail bar and restaurant at the start of Coldharbour Lane. It was founded in 1996 by a local entrepreneur. Like the other businesses we’ve featured over the past few weeks (Healthy Eaters and the House of Bottles), it is one of Brixton’s more established businesses that oozes sophistication, great food and friendly staff. Most Brixtonites will know it well… and for Brixton tourists ,don’t just take our word for it, check out Trip Adivsor … it has great reviews!

The restaurant menu ranges from Indonesian, Malaysian, Thai, Singaporean, Japanese and Chinese food. You can have the complete Pan Asian experience together with an interesting range of cocktails.  The venue is great too! We really enjoyed the Brixton Pound social we held there there last year and regulary have lunch there. In fact, here is a photo from lunch today!

IMG_1446

So, don’t wait until 15th of June, go and have a drink or lunch at Satay Bar, and use your Brixton Pounds. Let us know the food you tried and what you think on Twitter (#yourpound).

IMG_1581

#Yourpound: Meet the Trader – House of Bottles

24 days to go to our #ShopLocal event on the 15th of June! This week we’re blogging about another business that accepts Brixton Pounds: House of Bottles.

HOB2

House of Bottles is more than just an off-licence. It can help you satisfy your thirst! Did you watch that episode of the Apprentice a few weeks ago when they learnt that beer can be more than just lager or ale? Well the House of Bottles has a huge variety of beers. Our volunteer, Mario visited to find out more and some bought honey beer, though he was nearly tempted by the banana bread beer! They also stock a wide range of  wines and liquors.

The staff are really friendly too. You can stop by and have a chat with Tony (the owner) or Salwam (pictured), who will be more than happy to guide you through what they have to offer.

HOB3

The House of Bottles is also well know for the artwork of Morganico, outside the shop. Morganico is a rather talented artist that is “interested in making the world a more interesting and beautiful place by applying passion, inspiration and creativity” . He works on murals, carvings and portraits. The business opened in the early 2000s and has now been  on Coldharbour Lane for more than 10 years. Tony transformed the previous fishmonger (which had been onsite for 35 years) into an off-licence. Taking all this into account we can safely say that the House of Bottles is one of Brixton’s ‘historical’ places of interest! Its design, style, products, position and artwork all shout ‘made in Brixton!’

HOB1

So, what are you waiting for? Use your B£ to support another Brixton gem and let us know what you think on Twitter… remember to use the hash-tag: #yourpound!

Stuck for a present? How about a Bowie?!


Brixton Pound Notes

 

If you are struggling to find the perfect gift, relax, and give some Brixton Pounds. The lucky receiver will then be able to choose their own gift in over 200 local shops and eateries. And, to be honest, that’s much better than the dodgy sweater or socks you were going to joyfully wrap for them.

The notes come in four denominations, £1, £5, £10 and £20, otherwise known as Garrisons, Dengs, Bowies or Szabos (after the famous Brixton Faces on the notes). You can get the notes from issuing points around Brixton such as Morley’s (the menswear till) or 20 Storey in Market Row. For a full list and location of all the issuing points click here.

Payroll Local: UK first for local currencies

For the first time next month some Lambeth Council employees will be part paid in Brixton Pounds. Back in June we announced plans for its launch and we’re excited to say that the scheme is now live! The scheme gives all Lambeth Council employees the chance of receiving a portion of their salary in electronic Brixton Pounds (B£e).

Employees can then spend their B£e with local, independent businesses or donate to local charities and social enterprises. Employees who wish to be part of the scheme will receive an additional 10% on the proportion of salary they put into their online B£ account.

Over 120 members of staff have already pledged to receive a portion of their salary in Brixton Pounds, which is excellent news for local, independent businesses who are likely to see increased trade as a result. It is also great news for our community, as more money will stick to Brixton, directly benefiting local residents. That’s not all! The scheme will offer a convenient way to donate to local charities, social enterprises and community groups that may not be reached by corporate payroll giving schemes. Details of the charities involved can be found here.

If you work for Lambeth Council and would like a portion of your salary in Brixton Pounds, please sign up here. Detailed questions and answers can be found here however if there is anything else you would like to know, please email us on info@brixtonpound.org.

We’re grateful for funding from Nesta from their innovation in giving fund without which this project would not have happened.

Once again, this is a U.K. first. Something that Brixton can be really proud of. If you’re not yet using Brixton Pounds, there couldn’t be a more exciting time to get on board. There are now 92 businesses using pay-by-text. Open an account today!

 

Local energy, local people, local money

Earlier this year we wrote about the launch of Brixton Energy Solar 1. The good news is that the project has been even more successful than was hoped for. The solar panels have generated more electricity than expected.

Brixton Energy Solar 1: The Brixton Energy team at Elmore House – before and after photo; January 2012 and April 2012. Photo credit: Tim Mitchell http://www.timmitchell.co.uk/

Following on from the success, the fabulous team at Brixton Energy have now launched their second 2nd share offer. This will see the installation of 45kW of solar panels on the roofs of the Loughborough Estate in Brixton. The project will be 100% community owned giving local investors a share of the profits, with the remaining profit created being used to help address fuel poverty in Brixton through the Community Energy Efficiency Fund, right across the 20 year life span of the project.

The exciting thing is that this time round you’re able to buy shares and receive returns in Brixton Energy Solar 2 in Brixton Pounds. Local energy, paid for by local investors, using local money! We believe this is another U.K. first! Simply read the relevant documentation, complete and send the application form and make a B£e pay-by-text payment to brixtonenergy.

Brixton Energy Solar 2 site. Five Styles Gardens flats.

Co-founder and project manager of Brixton Energy, Agamemnon Otero, said “This is a true community project that has been enabled through the donation of over 1000 hours time invested by a variety of local people who are committed to a clean energy future. It’s great to see the launch of Brixton Energy Solar 2 and the continued support and commitment from local people. Pioneering inner-city co-operatively owned renewable energy projects has been challenging, but we are proving that with the right skills, dedication and commitment, we can all take steps to make clean energy a reality, and we hope other community groups across the UK will be inspired to take action. We want to make Brixton Energy a shining example of inner city community resilience for the next 20 years”.

Brixton really is at the forefront of sustainability innovation in the U.K. Be part of the revolution and invest in Brixton Energy Solar 2!

Pempamsie – the gem on Brixton Hill

This week we’re featuring a little gem on Brixton Hill that has been trading for 19 years – Pempamsie. Pempamsie which means ‘unity is strength’ sell a wide variety of products. From black interest books to natural beauty and health products, home furnishings and jewellery it would be difficult to visit without something taking your fancy!

Watch Basil tell you a little about his wonderful business.

Pempamsie also specialize in picture framing – in fact they framed some old Brixton Pound notes for us a few weeks ago and did an incredible job!

So whether you’re looking for a stylist gift or a treat for yourself, top up your pay-by-text account and visit this little gem.

Pempamsie are open Monday to Saturday 10am – 7pm.