Tag Archives: B£ t-shirts

Welcome to the Brixton Pound Cafe ☕️

The first pay-what-you-feel cafe in Brixton! 

Brixton Pound is excited to announce its newest project: the Brixton Pound cafe! Opening in July 2016 at 77 Atlantic Road, SW9 8PU, it is the first cafe in Brixton where all food and drink will operate on a pay-what-you-feel basis.

This idea (used by many projects, from cafes like ours or The Real Junk Food Project‘s all the way to commercial giants like Radiohead) fits perfectly into Brixton Pound’s ethos and its practice of questioning the traditional money systems and showcasing that viable alternatives exist. A more social economy is possible!

Additionally, we will be sourcing our food from local surplus – perfectly edible food that would otherwise be wasted – and turn it into delicious and healthy meals. We have partnered up with the People’s Fridge, a project run by residents and local food activists from Open Project Night, and with them will lead on food waste and food poverty reduction in the area. We will be collecting surplus from local traders, such as greengrocers Nour Cash & Carry and Faiz Fine Foods who have already pledged their unsold edible produce. If you’re a local business owner and would like to take part in the scheme, please email us at info (at) brixtonpound (dot) org or come by the cafe for a chat.

As part of the Brixton Pound Community Interest Company, the cafe will be a not-for-profit, and all revenue will support our local grants scheme Brixton Fund.

We’re looking forward to welcoming you at 77 Atlantic Road – come along to say hello, have a drink and a bite to eat, use the free wifi, or just hang out in a friendly space.

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Brixton Pound HQ

In the cafe, you can exchange your sterling cash for Brixton Pounds, set up a B£ pay-by-text account, play the Brixton Bonus, buy B£ merchandise (every sale supports the Brixton Fund!) and find out more about B£, its local projects, and Brixton itself.

Community space

Our new space at 77 Atlantic Road allows us to continue the mission of the B£ Shop (which we ran out of one of the Brixton Arches earlier this year) – giving the community an outlet for activity at the very heart of Brixton.

Aside from the cafe space, we’ve got a beautiful and spacious basement downstairs which can be used for meetings, events, workshops, pop-ups, performances, yoga, dance, rehearsals, you name it!

In our previous space we’ve welcomed regular free art classes, young parent groups, gigs, book launches, campaign meetings, social research launch parties, poetry and spoken word nights, youth education sessions – and much more – into the space.

The space is available to rent on a sliding scale, with the option of using it for free. The whole idea of the community space concept is to open up space that’s normally off-limits to community groups to help them do what they want to do.

“Thanks for the opportunity to use the space as it has definitely allowed me to raise my profile and confidence. Other places have requested my workshops for future projects” – Kes, Heart in Art mosaic workshops

“The Brixton Pound shop has been a game-changer for us…Our participants, all of whom are young people from the borough, love learning and planning there. B£ has given us a home in the centre of our town, where we before we had to look outside of our community.” – Amelia, Advocacy Academy

Host or suggest an event or activity

We’re only a small team – so we need your ideas and energy! If you’d like to host an event, or have an idea for something that could happen in the space, come in for a chat or email us at info (at) brixtonpound (dot) org

Opening hours:

Mon – Fri 8am – 7pm

Sat 10am – 6pm

#BrixtonBonus – Meet the Winners: Ashleigh and Paul

Stop us if you’ve seen this picture before… isn’t this the September Bonus winner, Paul? Guess what – Ashleigh, who won two Brixton Bonus runner-up prizes before, and who happens to be Paul’s wife, took home the jackpot B£1,000 in February! Congratulations ?

If you think the pair’s luck is a little too good to believe, here’s their secret: they are both “Brixton Bosses” – they each have an indefinite recurring entry for the maximum 10 tickets a month for each Brixton Bonus draw. Which, as evidenced by the results, definitely helps your chances to win! And if you sign up for a recurring entry with any number of tickets, you will receive very special rewards as a thank you from us.

All proceeds from Brixton Bonus go to the Brixton Fund, from which we give grants to local organisations of community benefit – see who we’ve funded so far. You are also supporting the Fund every time you spend electronic B£s (pay-by-text) or buy B£ merchandise at the B£ Shop or online.

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Ashleigh said she was delighted to win, and that the first thing she was going to do with her prize was make a donation to Brixton Soup Kitchen and the Brixton Fund. Amazing generosity, thank you!

The Gills have been regular and loyal B£ users for years. Paul was the first person we introduced in our Meet the User blog series: have a look at a guest blog post he wrote for us in September 2014, where he talks about why he uses B£ and all the personal connections to Brixton traders he’s made through using the local currency.

At the time when Ashleigh and Paul set up their 10 ticket/month recurring entries for Brixton Bonus, the top reward for being a Brixton Boss was a B£ t-shirt and lunch on us, but because of scheduling issues we opted for a breakfast instead, and one chilly October morning we met Ashleigh and Paul at Rosie’s in Market Row. They have been living in Brixton together for over a decade – and Paul, who grew up in South East London, for over two decades now. He told us when he moved here it was because he wanted to live somewhere with a tube station, which he finds amusing now as he cycles to work every day. 

As a regular B£ user, Paul first heard of the Brixton Bonus through our online communication channels: “The idea of the lottery and the message behind it was really inspiring, so we wanted to be a part of it. And it’s so easy to have the 10 tickets bought automatically each month, all I need to do is keep my balance topped up. We appreciate not everyone can afford that £10 each month, so we have donated winnings locally as we have always done via B£, just considerably more than our usual monthly donations.”

“Using B£ is definitely a Brixton badge of pride. Whenever I see the sticker in the window I am confident they will treat me as a regular, that even if there’s a new staff member who may not be familiar with it, the owner will be comfortable taking a pay-by-text payment. And so many businesses still offer 10% off when you pay in B£s. For small businesses working on small margins it’s difficult to do discounts like that, but even if it’s a seasonal or temporary or lunchtime-only promo, it’s hard not to be incentivised. For that reason we’ve always supported Rosie’s, or used to go to the Breadroom (which is now sadly closed) every weekend with our kids.”

“B£1,000 is a lot of money! I was at Market Row Wines and the owner Dave looked at my phone, saw my B£ balance with the prize money included, and was like, “hey, I should get a ticket too!” Knowing someone who won makes it seem more real I guess! I still have my regular standing order for B£s every month. I’ve given some of the prize money to Brixton Foodbank and Brixton Soup Kitchen. We bought some wine at Market Row Wines, we’re going to go out to dinner this week. Other than that the prize means our Christmas is sorted – we’ll buy all our gifts in B£ businesses. I will also definitely spend more at Brixton Cycles now that they take pay-by-text. It’s great that they managed to find a new premises and stay in Brixton, it would’ve been such a loss for the locals to see it go, and especially because cycling is such a big thing now, it’s a no brainer to use your local co-operative bike shop!”

“B£ could expand to a mile radius – there are so many small businesses that aren’t located in the very centre of Brixton. Last Sunday we went on a walk and popped into this coffee shop near Loughborough Junction, Blue Turtle Oasis. We didn’t realise they took B£, but they do, and that was a very pleasant surprise.”

“Our kids love B£ too. They’ve got all the B£ notes which they received as gifts – they are real pieces of art, too beautiful to spend. They see us spending pay-by-text all the time though, and understand that it helps independent businesses, understand the reasons behind the currency. Maybe this is something you could encourage more, to have parents give their children B£s as pocket money, to promote local spending? You could even branch out into schools! Corpus Christi Primary School is listed on your Directory, I wonder how they use B£s. The Parent Teacher Associations could benefit from it, ask for donations, or use it to source stuff locally. I love the idea of local business intersecting with schools, offering work experience. Our primary school PTA produces a school calendar every year with pictures done by children and parents. This year the theme is food, and many pages are sponsored by local food businesses. All the money raised is going back to the PTA to be used for school trips, inviting people for talks… This could definitely work together with B£ somehow.

So many people move to Brixton, and they could benefit from knowing more about the local area, local businesses. And it would be important for them too to support the community assets which have been here for years. It’s so sad to see places like A&C Continental go, although great that the B£ Shop can keep using that space for now. But it’s a shame when business owners who worked so hard on these places are forced to move, like Kaff Bar – they put so much effort into that space. The B£ should be making local businesses more visible – to discover some of them you have to be “in the know”, not every place has a sign. The Brixton Fund could give advice or surgeries, even TEDx format talks, on how to set up a business. You can get small business advice when you open a business account with a bank, but not much independent advice is offered. And this could help with jobs for young people too – right now unless you know someone, you can’t get work experience, and you’re a lot more likely to know a small business owner – they might be your neighbour, or another member of the local community.”

Merry BriXmas!

The B£ Shop (at 3 Atlantic Rd) is now also open on weekends – so you can stop by when you’re doing your Christmas shopping. And while you’re at it, why not get some brand new B£ merchandise? 

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We’ve got mugs, tote bags, posters, t-shirts in different cuts and colours designed by This Ain’t Rock’n’Roll, the same guys responsible for the iconic B£ notes – and they all look pretty rocking. 

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And for the notes, we’ve got these cool presentation wallets that make them perfect gifts for just about anyone.

We’ve also got the Great Brixton Book which showcases amazing photography from Brixton:

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Great Brixton page 188-189

As well as a book on punk philosophy, campaign t-shirts from an array of local actions like Save the Arches, Friends of Stockwell Skatepark, Save Cressingham Gardens, and Ritzy Living Wage, plus snacks, drinks, cakes, and other produce from local makers.

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We’re pretty confident you can find a gift for anyone here, and every sale contributes to the Brixton Fund, and thus supports Brixton and its community. Could you ask for more of a win/win situation?

PS. If you don’t live in Brixton, most of these goodies are available in our online shop 🙂

We’ve got a shop!

Brixton Pound has set up shop – we’re now at 3 Atlantic Road, SW9 8HX, right off Brixton’s high street.

Though we’ve very sad to see A&C Continental go, we are grateful to the owner, Jose, for inviting us to take care of the space now that the deli is closed.

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We are still selling Jose’s famous pasteis de nata – a Portuguese delicacy that roughly translates to custard tarts. Come along and get one! They’re only B£1.

In the shop, we’re providing information about Brixton and the Brixton Pound, as well as exchanging pounds sterling into Brixton Pounds, selling Brixton Bonus tickets, mint condition Brixton Pound notes and Brixton Pound t-shirts.

And, more importantly, we want the shop to be a community-focused space. We want to know what you, the community members, would like to see on the Brixton high street. Would you like to run a workshop, host an event in the space, or have other ideas for using it for community benefit? We want to show that a different high street is possible!

We’d really appreciate your thoughts. Please do pop in for a chat – at the moment we’re open on weekdays 9am-6:30pm. Alternatively please feel free to drop us a line on info (at) brixtonpound (dot) org. We’re looking forward to more conversations with Brixtonites!

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#Your Pound: Meet the Trader – The Turpentine

Brixton Pound is a currency which encourages social connections, and so it is our pleasure to be introducing you to B£ traders as well as B£ users on our blog. This week, we’re featuring the creative hub The Turpentine, home to our shiny B£ t-shirts and B£ pay-by-tap pioneers!

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“People really like them, especially the purple one!” says Amber, one of The Turpentine‘s co-founders. “They are also really good quality, the design is durable and doesn’t come out in the wash. We’ve had so many happy customers.”

The beginnings of The Turpentine go way back, and start with friends connecting friends. Co-founder Alice, who was living in Berlin at the time, introduced Amber and Jude at a friend’s dinner: “I knew Jude always dreamed of opening a coffee shop, and Amber wanted to set up something of her own, too, so I thought I’d connect them. Some time later I moved back, and they were already working on a project together!” They started will selling artwork at street markets, to then find a temporary home at Effra Social. Jude: “We would do markets there: have 20 tables with the stuff from our artists, workshops, music and dancing. It was such a great way to get to know people, find out what they wanted, what worked well – to get an idea of what our market was, and if what we were doing was falling on good ground.” Then one day Alice walked past the unit where to shop is today on Coldharbour Lane, and noticed it was available: “I called them up there and then, and couldn’t believe our luck when we got it! We never thought we could afford to open a permanent space in Brixton, we expected our offer to be rejected.. so when we actually got it we needed to do some frantic planning, fast!”

The name is a result of three nights’ worth of brainstorming. Jude: “We wanted something that combined a shop space with our workshops, something accessible, catchy, gender-neutral, art-based… and what had a domain name still up for grabs!”, she laughs. “Since then it’s been a constant learning process: the planning was easy, but then actually doing it! At one stage we just had to open, and realised we didn’t really think what was going to happen past that point. Amber had a lot of retail experience, but we didn’t yet have all the little systems you’ve got to have in place to make it all running smoothly.” Alice adds: “It was also a learning experience to work from home, with only one team meeting in the week – we don’t have any office space. But a year after opening, we’ve doubled the number of artists whose work we showcase, from 50 to over a hundred. We’ve seen people wearing our t-shirts at Brixton Academy gigs. Walking around Brixton there’s so much greeting and waving, because so many local people have been to our workshops.  And we just hired our first employee! It’s a big milestone. But the best feeling is probably the realisation that it’s actually happening: no more office jobs, this is our life now, and we’re loving every bit of it! We’re building something that’s ours, and since we’re best friends, we’re working with people we love and trust, and that’s amazing.”

“It’s been really great having all the positive feedback from customers. And that Guardian article has helped us a lot! We’re finally at the stage when we can start planning a bit more from the future, not just living from month from month and figuring out. And it never gets old: getting packages with new artwork delivered is like Christmas every day! It’s so exciting to see any new thing or design for the first time.”

The Turpentine's first own collection of lasercut wood jewellery

The Turpentine’s first own collection of lasercut wood jewellery

Amber is The Turpentine‘s curator, and works to maintain the shop’s distinctive feel: fun, accessible, bright, affordable – and finds new artists who fit into these themes: “We’re always looking for more artists, particularly locals. We’re into nice handmade things for not loads of money – something different to what you can find on the high street.” “But we’re on a high street!”, interjects Alice, “We’re literally bringing handmade to the high street, that’s our motto.”

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Three new sets of notebooks available at The Turpentine: feminists, anti-capitalists, and existentialists

Amazing artwork is not all that The Turpentine has to offer: they also specialise in workshops. Jude’s a jewellery designer and teacher, and also “a collector of weird craft techniques, which I like passing on. Lots of people are reluctant to try crafting because it can seem daunting, but most really enjoy it when they try – and it’s not that hard! We’re here to help break that barrier, enable people to use their creativity, give them some key principles they can then take away to do at home.”

Their most popular workshop is called Drink & Draw, and is currently booked out months in advance. Alice: “That was the one featured in the Guardian so it became even more popular. It also slotted well into the New Years Resolutions feel around the time the article was published. But we have lots more! A really awesome one is Wax Casting – you make a ring by carving it in wax, then casting in silver. You can make really unusual shapes, it’s very simple and you come out with an amazing one-off piece. You can also easily do it at home, the tools aren’t expensive which is not a common thing in jewellery design. It’s a really easy access to jewellery making, you should try it!” Watch this space, maybe we’ll expand our B£ collection from t-shirts to rings! 😉

The next big workshops The Turpentine is preparing will be a more in-depth, four week long painting course. “We’ve had lots of interest for life drawing, particularly from local people, so we thought we’d expand into painting too. It’s just great to see these ideas that started in our heads and see them work out! Also to meet customers, hear stories, have all these interactions you wouldn’t otherwise have. Some people do come from afar, even Essex, usually for Drink & Draw of the Guardian fame, but it’s the local connections that matter, and those are the people we’ll recognise and greet when walking around Brixton.”

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The Turpentine started accepting B£s pretty soon after opening: “The charming Tom came in one day and offered to sign us up, and we were glad to get involved. We were very flattered when he then approached us for a collaboration. We met with him and the note designer, Charlie, and the ideas for the t-shirts were born. Jude, our in-house designer did the designs, and the rest is history! People love those shirts, some have no idea about the currency so we tell them all about it, and more often then not they leave with a t-shirt in tow. People do B£ pay-by-text a lot, and now we also have the contactless terminal, so we’re excited to have pay-by-tap too!”

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The three best friends live in a triangle around the shop: in Brixton, Herne Hill, and just by the Jamm. Jude and Alice first moved South together as flatmates in 2003: to Elephant & Castle, and then to Stockwell. Amber worked in Photofusion at the time. Jude did jewellery design at St Martins, and then taught architecture and 3D design for five years. Making jewellery was her hobby, and now that it’s also her work she finds it hard not to do things that are Turpentine related… “I did just start singing lessons! And I love mooching about in Brixton. I live near Brockwell Park so always go there. And I love Las Americas, a Colombian caf with street food on top of Brixton Station Road. Their shredded beef is incredible.” Amber and Alice: “And why have you not taken us there yet? Sounds like the next Turpentine dinner!” Alice is an avid cyclist, and likes that she can take her bike into the market when she’s buying fruit and veg. “I mainly shop in the outdoor market but Nour Cash & Carry is great too. I like Casa Morita for Mexican food. I finally went to Mama Lan the other day after years of going past it – I just hate queues, and it’s always busy!” Amber had her wedding reception at the Trinity Arms: “It’s an amazing old pub, I love the place, and it never gets so busy you can’t have a conversation. I like the Ritzy too – I’m about to have a baby so it’s less pubs and more cinema. I like Brixton because there’s always something new, like graffiti. Did you see the new one on the back of the library, with the Jurassic Park computer guy?”

“We’re really lucky, it’s rare to have best friends working together, and it’s great that there’s three of us, cause it’s a lot of work to share! The shop is open every day, and we do workshops three evenings each week and they’re usually sold out.. But it never gets overwhelming, we support each other, it’s not like either of us has to do it all by herself, and that’s great. As Brixton residents and business owners we have mixed feelings about the fast pace of some changes. Of course it’s good for our business that Brixton is now a destination and more people come here, but some changes are happening too fast and there’s a danger they will erode the community. For us personally it means that if we have to move, we’ll have to move further away, which is sad – Brixton was so welcoming when we were setting up, people here are so supportive and curious, that sets it apart from the rest of London. Of course we’re part of that change, but we came to Brixton because it was vibrant and different – it’s sad we might lose that. We worry about the spirit of Brixton, but we hope it endures.”

Get the new Brixton Bugle this Friday!

Do you read the Brixton Bugle, Brixton Blog’s free community newspaper? B£ will now have its very own page in it! 

Tomorrow’s edition will be distributed outside the Brixton tube station in the morning, and available later from a number of locations – make sure to pick it up!

Featured among our awesome content is Lucy, the daughter of Dave Barnard, one of the two winners of our t-shirt competition we ran in the Bugle some time ago. Isn’t she super cute in her dad’s B£ t-shirt?

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(If you too want to wear your Brixton heart on your Brixton sleeve in this beautiful spring weather, head to The Turpentine, 433 Coldharbour Lane, or our shop. Discounts available for paying in B£s, and also for Southwyck House (The Barrier Block) residents, as the design used in the t-shirts takes its inspiration from the famous building. Additionally, 10% of every purchase will go straight into the Brixton Fund, our micro-grants scheme which will support local projects which increase employment opportunities, take action for social justice, or simply produce activities beneficial to the local community. So it’s really a win-win situation.)

B£ x The Turpentine limited edition t-shirts available now!

Just in time for Fashion Week – we’ve got t-shirts!

B£/The Turpentine T-Shirts

The fruits of our collaboration with The Turpentine are here, and in our humble opinion they look great!  The t-shirts are limited edition (a hundred of each design), and this batch has a serial number BP100000001.

To get your hands on one (or more!) of these beauties head to The Turpentine, 433 Coldharbour Lane – a Brixton-based creative hub and our partner in this fashion endeavour – or their online shop: http://www.theturpentine.com/collections/brixton-pound-t-shirts! They are available in unisex sizes S,  M and L and are £24 each, with a 10% discount available if paid for in B£. As the design used for the shirts is inspired by  Southwyck House (The Barrier Block), we thought it’s only fair that the Block residents are entitled to a half price discount – £12 (proof of address required). Additionally, 10% of every purchase will go straight into the Brixton Fund, our micro-grants scheme which will support local projects which increase employment opportunities, take action for social justice, or simply produce activities beneficial to the local community.

Designed by Jude de Berker of The Turpentine, the t-shirts feature the artwork used on paper Brixton Pounds, designed by Charlie Waterhouse and Clive Paul Russell of This Ain’t Rock’n’Roll. The Turpentine is a creative hub based in the heart of Brixton, bringing handmade to the high street. They sell beautiful design led art, jewellery and home wares and run art workshops from their store on Coldharbour Lane. Designer Jude de Berker, a London born Central Saint Martins alumni, is one of three co-founder’s. With a broad background from fine jewellery to branding, she enjoys the challenge of multidisciplinary designing. All her work combines influences from her time of teaching architecture and her interest in symbology: “I love combining clean lines with unusual materials and bold colours especially when these can be combined with rich storytelling.”

Here’s what Jude said about the design process for the B£ t-shirts:

“I wanted to take elements from the Brixton Pound to create t-shirt designs that could stand on their own but also work alongside the notes. All the graphical information has been taken directly from the notes, from the background lines and vivid colours to incorporating the serial number of the first ever Brixton Pound on the first 100 t-shirts of each design. I love the storytelling of Charlie Waterhouse’s designs linking the notes to Brixton,  so I incorporated the zigzag lines inspired by Southwyck House that feature on all the notes and the flying birds from the nuclear dawn mural on Carlton Mansions from the £10 note. It’s been a pleasure working with the guys at the Brixton Pound and hopefully we’ve created t-shirt s that people will love to wear.”

The t-shirts, hand screen printed in the UK, are also a statement of our values: organic and ethically made, they are products with a positive social and a minimum environmental footprint.  The organic cotton material is ethically traded and carbon neutral: manufactured solely using sustainable energy generated from wind and solar power, and was provided by EarthPositive, whose apparel is made to demonstrate the highest possible environmental, social, and ethical standards in one of the world’s most environmentally damaging industries.

 

In short: get ’em while they last!

Brixton Pound T-Shirts have landed!

Here’s a sneak peek at the new Brixton Pound T-Shirts now available in the Community Shop.

The T-shirts are made of very soft and ethically traded organic cotton and feature graphics designed by a local resident.  They come in both men’s sizes (S/M, L/XL, XXL) and women’s  sizes (S/M, L/XL).

To get your hands on one call in at the shop (unit 6, Granville Arcade, Brixton Village) or pre-order by email (brixtonpound@gmail.com), and we’ll make sure we have your size ready at the shop for collection.

Yours for £15, or B£13.