Tag Archives: fundraising

Big things coming up in 2017: Brixton Fund round 3

The Brixton Fund is B£’s grant scheme started to support grassroots work in Brixton. To date, the Fund has given out just under £10,000 of small grants to 13 local organisations who strengthen and benefit communities, take action for social justice, or increase local employment opportunities. The simple application process, support we offer along the way, and minimal reporting requirements for grant recipients make the Brixton Fund highly accessible even to individuals or groups without many resources.

In 2016, we increased Brixton Fund’s reach and impact massively: in the first round in November 2015, we received 18 applications and gave a total of £2,400 to 4 organisations, and in June 2016 we more than tripled the number of applications received as well as funding granted: out of the 60 that applied, 9 organisations received a total of £7,500. For the second round of the Brixton Fund, we also trialled a more open and democratic voting process, where we invited the public to vote on how to distribute the awards between shortlisted projects.

Brixton Fund public voting event in June 2016. Photo credit: Mike/Brixton Buzz. Speaker is Ciaran Thapar from Hero’s Journey, a youth project funded by the Brixton Fund. Read Ciaran’s recent article about bridging gentrification’s stark divides.

In 2017, we would also like to open the Fund Panel to volunteers from the community. Would you like to join? You would help us score the applications we receive and arrive at a shortlist for guaranteed funding. In 2017, the likely scenario is that the Fund will open for applications in April, and scoring will take place in May. You will be asked to score no more than 10 applications, and we’ll provide you with a detailed criteria and scoring guidelines. We will also ask you to declare any bias you may have, so don’t worry if someone you know is thinking of applying for funding – we’ll make sure you are not scoring their application. Depending on the volume of applications and turnaround, we’d then like to hold the open event where the public can vote on how to distribute funding among shortlisted projects in late May or early June.

You can support the Brixton Fund in a number of ways:  by spending electronic B£s (1.5% of each transactions goes straight into the Fund), by treating yourself to cocktails at Seven and Three Eight Four bars, the official sponsors of the Brixton Fund, by playing the Brixton Bonus (another round will be happening in the spring), by direct donations. Everyone is invited to come vote on how to distribute the grant money once we announce a shortlist for the next round.

But if you’d also like to be part of the initial selection process, you can now join the Fund Panel.

So, would you like to give your time and expertise to the Brixton Fund application scoring during May 2017? If yes, please fill out this form, or contact us if you have any questions or comments. We would love to have you on board!

Volunteers from Lambeth Council and other Brixton locals bring Christmas cheer to older people

With the help of local volunteers and donors, the Brixton Pound ran a collection and gift wrapping session at the B£ Café to give isolated older people gifts and treats to help warm their Christmas. 

A lunch was hosted at the Vida Walsh Centre in Windrush Square on Christmas day for older people who would otherwise be spending Christmas alone. When we think of Christmas we think of warmth and merriment, family and friends, but that’s not always within reach for everyone, whether because of geography, absence of family or friends, physical or mental disability, or other challenges. Older people in particular can find themselves isolated and lonely at Christmas.

Previous recipient of a Brixton Fund grant, Age UK Lambeth, asked us whether we could help them in sourcing donations of food and gifts to be distributed at the lunch, so we sent out a call to our network of Brixtonites and other loyal supporters.

The response was overwhelming. Thanks to you lovely people, and in particular thanks to staff of Lambeth Council, we received several large bags of fruit, biscuits, chocolate, and assorted gifts.

A group of cheery volunteers transported the donations, sipped teas and coffees and diligently helped to wrap presents at our café on Atlantic Road. Here’s the team:

Heartwarming stuff. Thanks guys!

As well as collecting an impressive pile of gifts for the event, with the help of the Lambeth community, Age UK Lambeth managed to raise more than £3,000, massively exceeding the target of £750. The money not spent on the Christmas lunch will be used to upgrade the services they provide for users in Lambeth.

Age UK research suggests that there are 2,550 lonely older people in Lambeth, and that 1.2 million older people in England are chronically lonely. That’s an awful lot of loneliness that can be alleviated with just small actions from the people around. If you feel you could offer an hour or so a week to befriend an older person, or make a small donation, Age UK Lambeth will match you up with someone. Apply to be a befriending volunteer and help make someone’s New Year here: http://www.ageuk.org.uk/lambeth/getinvolved/

To keep up with any Age UK Lambeth updates, events and developments, follow them on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

#BrixtonFund: Local Group of the Month – Hero’s Journey

Over the last nine months, Ciaran Thapar and Rory Bradshaw have been volunteering at their local community centre in Loughborough Junction. Backed by the Brixton Fund, the Brixton Pound’s micro-grants scheme, they have established Hero’s Journey – a weekly discussion group for teenage boys. Here, they explain the story so far.

How did Hero’s Journey start?

Our involvement at Marcus Lipton Community Centre (MLCC) began in September 2015, when we were first buzzed through the front door. It is a single-floor building next to the weathered railway arches in Loughborough Junction, resting in the shadows of Loughborough Estate’s huge white tower blocks, whose lights are visible from our living room window at night.

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Ira, Ciaran and Rory outside Marcus Lipton Community Centre. Photo credit: Tristan Bejawn

We spoke at length with Ira, the warm, pragmatic man in charge. Over a series of visits, he told us stories about growing up in Brixton, from the 1970s to the present day – the gangs, police, raves and racism.

That month, the Evening Standard launched their regeneration initiative, ‘The Estate We’re In’, aiming to drive attention towards London’s housing estates. The first article was written by a journalist who had spent a week living in Angell Town estate, and the consensus at MLCC was that the voices of the people interviewed had been misrepresented. It was seen as another case of the British media perpetuating negative stereotypes about black young men in the inner city.

Tragically, in the same few weeks, a 16-year-old boy, Jarrell (who we unfortunately never had the chance to meet), was killed on the road outside the centre. The flowers arranged on the pavement in commemoration, weathered and untouched, are still there today.

It was a sensitive time, and whilst welcoming our interest in volunteering, Ira warned us that we would not become embedded overnight. Sure enough, the first few months mainly involved just hanging out at the centre, building trust, reassuring everyone that we were neither journalists (the Evening Standard had made people paranoid), nor undercover policemen.

In November, with help from Jacqueline Gomes-Neves, the former youth mayor for Lambeth, we won £1000 from the Brixton Fund to develop the ‘Brixton Youth Forum’. This is an umbrella term for all youth activity at MLCC (including the pre-existing girls’ group), within which Hero’s Journey functions.

What is Hero’s Journey?

Every Friday evening we hold an hour-long session (a ‘journey’), each time sparking a conversation about a selected topic. Our simple aim is to get the boys (‘heroes’) to talk regularly, openly and critically about things that relate to their lives. We frame each discussion around a cultural resource – such as a book, item of food, photograph or newspaper article.

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In one journey, we brought Asian snacks – pakora, sushi and a bright selection of Indian sweets – and discussed London’s cultural diversity, challenging the heroes to compare and contrast their own respective eating norms at home (most the boys are from Jamaican households, some West or East African).

During others, we used photography books Don’t Call Me Urban (Simon Wheatley’s documentation of the roots of grime music amidst London’s council estates between 1998-2010) and the Great Brixton Photobook (a collection of images depicting moments of local history), to spark discussions about topics such as stereotyping, ‘stop-and-search’ and gentrification.

In our most recent journey, we held a debate about the EU referendum, which inspired some insightful commentary on the pros and cons of immigration, as well as some less concrete reasoning – “apparently if we leave the EU it’s gonna cost £35 for a trim!”, one of the boys claimed.

Week after week, we encounter new, curious faces, eager to participate and voice their thoughts. The group is always different (it’s size ranges from 3 to 12); most heroes attend different schools, some claim not to attend at all. Some come from stable homes, others from more challenging circumstances. Although the sparse room the group occupies each week might not have the sheen of polished oak and the comfort of green leather seats, the debates that unfold offer a more acute window into the perspectives of ordinary young people than those in the Commons Chamber ever could.

We are using the bulk of our £1000 funding to run a three-day programme in August (we have already used some of it for refreshments and attendance rewards at each journey). Our plan is to visit different places across London, enabling the heroes to engage in new experiences around the city. As part of the programme, we are also working with the Black Cultural Archives on Windrush Square to develop a journey about local history.

What problem are we trying to solve?

On top of giving the heroes space to discuss their ideas, Hero’s Journey also allows us, as newcomers to the area, to learn from, and become part of, our local community. In other words: it’s as much about our own learning curve – our own journey – as it is the boys’.

Our view is that some of the current unease with gentrification stems from the way that gentrified areas become split across the fault-lines of class and race. If you walk along Coldharbour Lane, from the backstreets of Loughborough Junction towards central Brixton, you will notice an obvious shift in atmosphere as the feeling of neglect evaporates. The various eateries in Brixton Village and Pop Brixton now appear to exist for a particular type of customer: (predominantly) white, monied twenty-and-thirty-somethings – not those who are likely to ever set foot in MLCC, even though it is just up the road.

The reality is that many of our fellow newcomers to Brixton are leading detached lives from the longstanding communities around them. They socialise at different bars and restaurants. They buy their fish, meat and vegetables at Sainsbury’s instead of the market. And in the week, they commute to and from jobs across the city, barely engaging with the civic space they live in. Through Hero’s Journey, we have been trying to disturb this status quo.

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Ira, Ciaran and Rory outside Marcus Lipton Community Centre. Photo credit: Tristan Bejawn

Since our initial contact with Ira, we have formed strong, organic relationships with other staff members and many of the young men and women, boys and girls, who treat MLCC as their second home. To them, the centre is a safe haven: they know they can spend their Friday nights there, under the wing of Ira and his staff. For the Hero’s Journey boys in particular, they also now know that both of us will be there each week to hear them out.

We believe that our achievements so far, more than anything else, demonstrate that with the right approach it is possible for people like us – young adult graduates, moving into an evolving urban area – to become part of our local community. The bonus is that each journey is the most enjoyable part of our week.

Ciaran and Rory

Please get in touch with Ciaran and Rory at herosjourneyml[at]gmail[dot]com if you would like to support Hero’s Journey in any way  (e.g. with ideas for the summer programme, to tag along for a session, or host a session!) or if you just want to meet up locally to discuss it in greater detail. 

Hero’s Journey’s logo was designed by Benjy Nugent, who kindly did it for free. It’s inspired by a tribal mask using the aesthetic of inner-city life. The photos were taken by Tristan Bejawn who will be tagging along to the next few journeys and on the summer programme to get portraits of the participants – so watch this space for more visuals from Hero’s Journey!

Ciaran talking about Hero's Journey at the Brixton Fund event in June. Photo credit: Mike Urban / Brixton Buzz

Ciaran talking about Hero’s Journey at the Brixton Fund event in June. Photo credit: Mike Urban / Brixton Buzz

In November 2015, Brixton Youth Forum / Hero’s Journey received £1000 from the Brixton Fund, the Brixton Pound’s local micro-grants scheme. The Brixton Fund is funded by Brixton Bonus ticket sales, sale of B£ merchandise in the Brixton Pound Shop, and a 1.5% business transaction fee on pay-by-text B£ payments. So – whenever you play to win B£1000, grab yourself a snazzy B£ T-shirt or simply do your weekly shop in B£s, you’re helping to fund local groups like Hero’s Journey.

Brixton Fund gives out grants for the second time!

On Tuesday 7th June we held the first ever public Brixton Fund event at Brixton East 1871, and together with Brixton’s community made the final decisions for this round of grants. Our idea was to make the grant-giving process more transparent, participatory, and democratic, so the public’s involvement was absolutely crucial! Thank you to everyone who came along, supported the event, spread the word, or got involved in any other way.

Out of all 60 applicants to this round of funding, with the help of our Fund Panel, we shortlisted nine. Representatives of these were present at the event and everyone had a chance to speak to them about their project and the work they do. Then, each person was given 10 chickpeas with which they could vote for the projects – all were guaranteed some amount of funding, but the public vote helped decide on its distribution between the projects. After we counted up the chickpeas, the final results were:

Keep an eye on our blog and Funded Projects page for more information and features about this cohort of Brixton Fund grant recipients, and check out the projects we funded previously too.

Photo credit Mike Urban/Brixton Buzz

Advocacy Academy got £2,000 to fund a 4-day residential programme for young leaders. This one and above photo credit Mike Urban/Brixton Buzz

Brixton Buzz and Brixton Blog both published nice write ups about the event and the feedback we got from community members was overwhelmingly positive (if you were there on the night and would like to let us know what you thought, please do fill out this short survey!) More pictures are on the B£ Facebook page. If you took photos on the night we’d love to see them too!

The future of community activities in Brixton

Photo credit Charlie Waterhouse / This Ain't Rock'n'Roll

Photo credit Charlie Waterhouse / This Ain’t Rock’n’Roll

While we were busy counting up the chickpeas, the main floor was given to a discussion on the future of community activities in Brixton. The Panelists included:

  • Binki Taylor (chair) – Chair of the Brixton Pound
  • Cllr Donatus Anyanwu – Lead Member for Community Relations, Lambeth Council
  • Rebecca Trevalyan – Head of Partnerships, Impact Hub Brixton
  • Mike Urban – Editor of Urban75 and Brixton Buzz
  • Sue Sheehan – Green Champion, Lambeth
  • Kwesi Shaddai – Regional Organiser, London, Edge Fund

With many questions from the audience the discussion was very lively, and we all agreed it needs to continue. That’s why we wanted to point you in the direction of Open Project Nights which happen every Monday 18.30-22.30 hosted by Impact Hub Brixton and Transition Town Brixton. The sessions are free and open to all, and can be used for working, networking, holding meetings, themed events, and you can experience the immediate benefit of engaging with inspiring community projects and enterprises. Current projects include Bank of Lambeth and The People’s Fridge, a community fridge that Impact Hub and TTB are currently crowdfunding for. Get involved!

Join the Brixton Fund Panel

As we asked on Tuesday night, we are looking for community members who would like to join the Fund Panel who scores applications to the Brixton Fund. It would require scoring up to 10 applications (2-4 pages long) twice a year. If you or anyone you know would like to get involved in this way, please email us on info(at)brixtonpound(dot)org with your or their name, email, and phone number.

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How you can support the Brixton Fund

The next round of funding is planned for autumn, and we’d like to make it even bigger than this one! If you’d like to support the Brixton Fund, you can do so in a number of ways:


Once again, thank you to all involved for your trust, enthusiasm, and participation in the Brixton Fund. The next round opens in October and we hope that with your support it can be even bigger and better!

Brixton Fund – shortlist for round 2, and how to get involved

The Brixton Fund is the Brixton Pound’s local grants scheme, introduced last year to increase the resources available for community and socially-minded activities in the area. For the current round of funding we have received a huge and unprecedented number of applications from people wanting to do good things in Brixton, which shows how crucially needed this kind of support is in the local area. All of the applications were scored by members of the Fund Panel, who voluntarily give their time to help us decide which applications to take forward.

Though we are not able to fund everyone, we endeavour to stay in touch with all applicants and facilitate support from other avenues, either through using the Brixton Pound shop space or the Pop Brixton Community Investment Scheme.

Nine projects were shortlisted, which means they are all guaranteed to receive some support from the Brixton Fund in this round:


 This is where you come in!

We want to bring people together to help us decide how the Fund money should be distributed between the shortlisted projects: please join us on Tuesday 7 June at 6.00pm (6.30pm start) at the beautiful Brixton East, just off Coldharbour Lane.

At the event, you will be provided with information about each shortlisted project, and given a certain amount of tokens to “fund” the projects according to how you think they should receive support. At the end of the night we will count up your votes and allocate funding to each project accordingly.

We’ll also hear from people who we’ve previously funded, as well as present the Brixton Exchange – our social programme which, in addition to the Brixton Fund, creates new resources for community activities in Brixton.

We will also be hosting a panel discussion that addresses the question: how can community activities exist, let alone thrive, at a time when London’s development creates increasingly difficult conditions for it. It is a big question that is worthy of proper debate, and we hope to have a frank and hopefully productive exchange of views, reflected by the panel we have put together:

  • Binki Taylor (chair) – Chair of the Brixton Pound
  • Cllr Donatus Anyanwu – Lead Member for Community Relations, Lambeth Council
  • Rebecca Trevalyan – Head of Partnerships, Impact Hub Brixton
  • Mike Urban – Editor of Urban75 and Brixton Buzz
  • Sue Sheehan – Green Champion, Lambeth
  • Kwesi Shaddai – Regional Organiser, London, Edge Fund

Among music, nibbles and drinks (Brixton Fund sponsor three eight four will be joining us for the evening) we’ll also be running a raffle where someone will be going home with a highly-coveted limited edition David Bowie Brixton Pound print. The first one went for over £1000, so this is a seriously hot piece of property!

Register for a free ticket here: brixtonfund.eventbrite.com Please share the invite with your friends and networks!

Brixton Fund: Local Group of the Month – AGT social

Located in Loughborough Junction, AGT Social was set up by Karl and Vicki after running a computer repair clinic at the Lambeth Country Show. They aim to provide much-needed affordable/free IT services to lower income communities as well as offering training, with the aim of increasing social, employment and educational opportunities.

In November 2015, AGT Social received £250 from the Brixton Fund, the Brixton Pound’s local micro-grants scheme. The Brixton Fund is funded by Brixton Bonus ticket sales (our monthly community lottery), sale of B£ merchandise in the Brixton Pound Shop, and a 1.5% business transaction fee on pay-by-text B£ payments. So – whenever you play to win B£1000, grab yourself a snazzy B£ T-shirt or simply do your weekly shop in B£s, you’re helping fund local groups like AGT Social!

Vicki: AGT Social has been incorporated as a social enterprise for nearly three years alongside AGT UK which is our commercial company.

Karl: We are like the one stop shop for people looking to cover their IT requirements. We host websites, run off-site back ups, host cloud conscriptions, all kinds of stuff as well as repairing broken screens installing servers and so forth.

Vicki: Our ethos is that we don’t want to chuck things away. We want to reuse.

Karl: We are very conscious of consumerism and the impact it can have on the planet the economy and the community.

Vicki: And we have a big community we can tap into here. The Lougborough Junction community is crying out for new things, for people to fix their computers and opportunities for apprenticeships and training.

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Vicki: The idea behind AGT Social came about in the first year you (Karl) were running AGT.

Karl: So I had already set up AGT and I had an idea to promote the business based on a free bike repair clinic I saw one year at Lambeth Country Show. In fact I got my bike repaired there and had to queue up for a long time. I thought: OK, this is a good idea, and wondered, could this work for computer repairs? So the following year I decided to get a pitch at the Country Show.

Vicki: The idea was to set up a free laptop repair clinic for people to be like, oh, who is AGT, maybe if I can’t get my laptop repaired there this time I can phone them up and this would bring business in for us. Purely commercial.

But it was soon apparent that people started to anticipate we would be there for the following year and people that couldn’t afford to get their computers fixed were waiting for the next year to bring them along for something as simple as removing a virus.

That inspired us to turn it into something bigger than an annual laptop repair clinic. It led to us turning it into a social enterprise (AGT Social).

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Karl: The whole point of AGT Social really, as Vicki said, is to provide trustworthy and affordable services to communities and individuals who may not otherwise be able to access these services. Not everyone has the luxury of being able to go down to the Apple Store and part with £300 to get their computer repaired. Also what you realize is that those who do not have much disposable income are the ones that need their computers most in the first place. To look for jobs, manage finances and communicate with family aboard.

Everything we have done in the arch has been self-funded so far. And that’s been really difficult. We approached Lambeth Council to get some support but didn’t get much and submitted some applications for a few local grants and again we didn’t get anything from that.

Vicki: Even with the Brixton Fund money, we are going to have to raise some more, but it does show that we can be successful in applying for funding. It boosts our own confidence in applying for funding and shows that there are people out there that recognize the value of what we are doing. It means we can now go to other people and get them to help us out in building our training room.

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Karl: We feel a sense of obligation of pride to not let B£ down and show that their investment, no matter how big or small, was entirely justified. We want to prove that we know what we are talking about and provide solutions.

We have already run some training courses with a few local charities. One of the courses we put on was called IT essentials and it basically was a course designed to give anyone and everyone the confidence to be able to repair a machine. So right from the basics to switching between operating systems, removing viruses and how to diagnose and fault find. Really, we are teaching the logic, not the solution to every problem out there, because that’s impossible. As soon as that student grasps that knowledge, their confidence and ability multiplies. So that’s what we are going to be doing here, running courses for professionals and for people that are looking to improve their skillsets. 

Contact 

For more information on apprenticeships, training and repairs head to over to AGTsocial.uk.net

And for business and personal IT support, AGT.uk.net have got you covered.

 

Oh! You pretty thing: our unique David Bowie print raises money for community projects in Brixton

UPDATE: The prints are now available for sale at bit.ly/bowieprint and at the B£ Cafe at 77 Atlantic Road.

We’re delighted to announce the sale of a unique piece of Brixton history: the Brixton Pound has published an A3 print featuring the iconic Bowie B£10 note to raise money for the Brixton Fund.

The edition of 300 – of which 250 will eventually be offered for sale – went into production in December 2015, with David Bowie’s full approval (check out the news story on the official website). The very first print, numbered #001, is being auctioned to raise money for the Brixton Fund, our community grant scheme.

The auction is live on online auction house Paddle8, as part of their Legendary sale.

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Both sides of the note are displayed, featuring David Bowie in his Ziggy Stardust guise from the cover of Aladdin Sane, as well as a detail from the Nuclear Dawn mural on Brixton’s Coldharbour Lane. The A3 print is produced on the same diamond-patterned security paper as the circulation notes, and features several of their original features such as orange fluorescent ink and die-cut metallic & holographic foiling.

The print is titled ( –2016 ) in pencil, numbered in both black and metallic ink, and blind-stamped by the designers. The print will also be accompanied by a certificate of authenticity from the Brixton Pound.

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B£ note designer Charlie of This Ain’t Rock’n’Roll said:

“The print looks absolutely stunning. The fluorescent ink leaps off the page and the foiling has been die-cut to incredible detail. It really has been produced to an incredibly high standard.”

“We’re quite emotional about it. The Aladdin Sane cover image has always been melancholy, but to see it now in conjunction with the ascending dove from Nuclear Dawn is incredibly poignant. We got Bowie’s permission to use the image for this print in December. It’s as if it’s his parting gift to Brixton.”

Don’t miss this opportunity to bid for a unique item of Brixton (and Bowie) memorabilia.

The auction will be live until March 31st, and after that the remaining limited edition run will be made available for sale. All proceeds will go directly into the Brixton Fund, a grant scheme managed by the Brixton Pound to support community initiatives in the area.

UPDATE: The prints are now available for sale at bit.ly/bowieprint and at the B£ Cafe at 77 Atlantic Road.

#BrixtonFund – Local Group of the month: Young People Matter

Young People Matter (YPM) are a charity based in Stockwell Gardens. They create and run programs based around the needs of youth and the community. Aiming to provide a variety of different programs from after school clubs and summer camps to helping with employment and skills training.

In November 2015, YPM received £400 from the Brixton Fund, the Brixton Pound’s local micro-grants scheme. The Brixton Fund is funded by Brixton Bonus ticket sales (our monthly community lottery), sale of B£ merchandise in the Brixton Pound Shop, and a 1.5% business transaction fee on pay-by-text B£ payments. So – whenever you play to win B£1000, grab yourself a snazzy B£ T-shirt or simply do your weekly shop in B£s, you’re helping fund local groups like the Young People Matter.

We spoke with two members of YPM: Kemi, the group’s founder, who started YPM in 2007 through setting up and running a 4 week summer program for kids, and Marcus, who has been part of YPM from the beginning, first as a director and then stepping down to have a more hands on role.

Kemi
Whilst I was at university studying psychology and sociology, I was doing some work with a youth club in Kingston, and later in Thornton Heath. At the time I used to put together booklets of things I wanted to do when I was older, for example activities for young people, basically things that where missing from what I was doing. But I had always wanted to wait till I was older to put on something myself.

However at the time there were a lot of things going on in my estate, five young people had been killed in the space of a week. And so it was like, do I wait or do I do something about it now. We applied for some money from the youth opportunity fund and found out two weeks before that we had got it. We had to rush around a bit to get it together but we had a really good turnout with about 50 people signing up for the first session. Eventually I decided to leave my job and pursue YPM full time as I saw there was a real need for something like this.

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Marcus
At the time in 2007 when YPM started a lot of gun violence was happening and it was still big in the news. We weren’t as desensitized to it then as we are now. We take it for granted even though we hear about it so much. But back then in 2007 it was still shock news. So Kemi applied for funding to do something with the kids on her estate because the kids just said: we don’t have anything to do. And from there it just grew.

More people heard about it, more programs came from it, and eventually it turned into this. With a premises on Stockwell Garden estate, seven full time employed staff, and moving on to maybe twenty staff when we are busier.

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Kemi
What we do has always depended on what the needs were within the community at the time. So when we first moved here we came to do a youth club and a drama program. From there, there were a lot of people who couldn’t speak English as their first language and wanted a homework club for their kids to support them. It started out as homework club, and then it developed into an after school club and to include different schools and areas. Another example – some girls who wanted to do a youth club for just females, and that’s how girls night and boys night developed. So it all comes from things people have said or what was needed.

Marcus
All of our programs go hand in hand and help to service the other programs. For example our employment program helps to move people from long term unemployment to employment, but some of the barriers in the way of this were: if I do get a full time job, what do I do with my children?

So our after school clubs came about because there are working parents that wouldn’t be able to work without it, and it benefits the children themselves by providing them activities. Another example is the summer camps that we run. We had one and it was very successful, from there it spread from school to school and we are at four now. Everything we do just grows organically.

It’s hard to monetize it and grow when you do this kind of social work – it doesn’t work like that. The community tells us their needs and if it fits into our ethos, then we will work together. We have been going for nine years now, and even in a time when there are big budget cuts we are still here now and are grateful for that.

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Kemi
The Brixton Fund money is going to be used to offer young children free space and access to the after school club. For parents who don’t work, their children wouldn’t usually be able to access the after school club, so this allows for them to do so. Just because their parents don’t work it doesn’t mean their children don’t need to use it. Kids need to have something to do, and their parents might not be able to afford this for their kids normally. Parents themselves need some spare time and a break from childcare.

Marcus
We have three different after school clubs however; I was thinking, what about the kids who I see after school with their parents that don’t get to attend the after clubs. They are kids that we might not to be able to engage with because they don’t get this opportunity. So I looked at the barriers to this and the possibility of funding to see how they could get the opportunity to do this. It was great to be successful in this funding application, its going to have a big impact.

Click here to support Young People Matter, or check out their website for more information.

Whenever you buy a Brixton Bonus ticket, spend electronic Brixton Pounds, or buy from the B£ Shop, you are contributing to the Brixton Fund which supports groups like Young People Matter. One more reason to get involved!

This post was researched and written by B£ volunteer Fabien Piesakowski-O’Neill.

 

#BrixtonFund – Local Group of the month: Healthy Living Club

The Healthy Living Club, set up by Simona Florio, is a dementia centered community currently operating at the Lingham Court care home in Stockwell. It is open to those in Lambeth with dementia and the residents of Lingham Court. Attendees can meet there to spend time with each other and enjoy the variety of activities that HLC help to make available.

In November 2015 the Healthy Living Club received £750 from the Brixton Fund, the Brixton Pound’s local micro-grants scheme. The Brixton Fund is funded by Brixton Bonus ticket sales (our monthly community lottery), sale of B£ merchandise in the Brixton Pound Shop, and a 1.5% business transaction fee on pay-by-text B£ payments. So – whenever you play to win B£1000, grab yourself a snazzy B£ T-shirt or simply do your weekly shop in B£s, you’re helping fund local groups like the Healthy Living Club.

This is Simona’s story.

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“I moved to South London from Dalston because I wanted to be closer to work – so I guess the Healthy Living Club brought me here. But I actually first lived in Brixton many years ago when I was working at the Bartlett School, where I was responsible for their Erasmus programs. I loved it when was I living there, so it was nice being able to come back again.”

“I started the Healthy Living Club from scratch and got a job with the Alzheimer’s Society here at Lingham Court care home. They had the funding for three years and everyone assumed it would carry on, but actually when the funding ran out they really did close the program. Because it was announced at the last minute everyone was incredibly shocked and upset.”

“The volunteers and ourselves felt that we had to come to regard ourselves as friends with those who attended, and those who attended felt they didn’t have anywhere safe to meet. Once you get dementia it becomes very hard to go out to places that are not conventional like bars or cafes. So this was the only place they came all week and it’s the only time they saw anyone from outside. Everyone should have that basic right to a community life.”

“Despite the service closing and loss of funding we continued as if nothing happened. We turned up the next week and everyone was there, nobody was missing. Even though some were paid and were unsure if they would receive pay, nobody dropped off, even after a year. It was seven months before we even got our first grant!”

hlc 3 hlc 2People with dementia don’t like change, so our main aim is to keep activities the same. A typical day at the Wednesday club starts at 11am with an exercise class, which is very good for people with dementia as it slows down the protein that is the hallmark of dementia. We like to make sure it’s fun and that everyone in the group is involved. At 12:15pm we have a musical session – again, music is great for people with dementia, as music is stored in a different part of the brain. So whilst people forget a lot of other things, music is still there. Even people who have difficulty walking find they have the memory of how to dance in their bodies from the music.”

“Then at 1pm we will have lunch with soft food and finger foods for those that can’t use cutlery. After lunch we have various activities, for example musical bingo, games, art and crafts, drama, food tastings or talks from the National Gallery. The afternoon is meant to be more unstructured. Although we can’t have too many things going on at once, as it can be confusing for everyone.”

“We also offer activities on a Monday and a carers group meeting once a month. So as you can see, we put on a lot of events and the demand is there. The main problem for us is actually securing the funding to put them on.”

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“In the future we would like to take HLC to other care homes too. It is not the job of care homes to provide any activities or extra care for their residents. So we would like to provide this to those living there in addition to all these dementia patients from outside who don’t have anything going on. Providing activities is really quite cheap and there are all these premises we can use for free to do this.”

“When we first started, those attending had to pay £3 for their lunch, but it was impossible to collect the money when they didn’t have any, didn’t know where their money was, or didn’t know how much they had paid. It became really disruptive as some people weren’t eating or they were eating at different times so they missed out on activities.”

“It is also really important to be in a place where everyone is equal. If it is your home and you live here, and someone charges you for lunch on the day, it is weird that you are getting charged by someone for food in your own home. It makes you feel as if it isn’t your home. So what do you do?”

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“We decided to offer the lunches for free. However the costs of this all adds up to become expensive. The food comes from FareShare, one of our volunteers collects the food from them and doesn’t charge for travel expenses. But we still have to get other essentials such as oil, flour, some meat, and some refreshments for our Monday club. We also need to cover the costs of a chef because the food needs to be cooked by someone who can cater for the needs specific to everyone living and attending here.”

“Since providing these free lunches is a huge part of our cost and is something that funders don’t like to contribute to, I thought – why don’t we try make this more sustainable by getting another source of funding for it? We want to set up a scheme to recruit restaurants willing to donate some money each month towards paying for lunch at HLC. That is what the Brixton Fund is helping to support.”

Healthy Living Club club meets at Lingham Court, 10 Lingham Street, Stockwell, London SW9 9HF.

Sessions:
Wednesday Club (11.00 a.m. – 3.00 p.m)
Monday morning Breakfast Club (10.00 a.m. – 12.30 p.m)
Monthly carers’ group led by the Lambeth Carers’ Hub

If you’d like to support HLC’s work, click here for more information – or come by the Brixton Pound Shop (3 Atlantic Rd, SW9 8HX) and have a look at a brilliant table decorated by the members of the Healthy Living Club which is now being auctioned – all proceeds will be used to keep Healthy Living Club’s art project going.

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Contact Simona Florio for any questions
email simonaflorio.hlclc@gmail.com
Phone 07790 499317

Unit 506, Strata, 8 Walworth Road, London SE1 6EE

This post was researched and written by B£ volunteer Fabien Piesakowski-O’Neill.

The first round of Brixton Fund(ing) is complete!

We’re really pleased to wrap up the inaugural round of the Brixton Fund – the Brixton Pound’s micro-grants scheme for Brixton.

We had 18 applications to the Fund, demonstrating the need for funding for small grants for grassroots organisations in the area.

A shortlist of 7 projects was produced after initial scoring by our panel of 13 Brixtonites with strong and varied local knowledge.

Finally – the panel met to whittle 7 very strong projects down to a final four:

  • Brixton Youth Forum: £1000 – Training, workshops, advice, education & a democratic space for young people.
  • Healthy Living Club: £750 – Self-organised community replacing loneliness with belonging for those living with dementia
  • Young People Matter: £400 – Free after-school clubs in Stockwell and Brixton
  • AGT Social: £250 – Training young people in Loughborough Junction in IT and repairs

It was a really difficult process to reach the final decision – but with both successful and unsuccessful applicants we’re not just leaving it there – we’re using our contacts, shop space and networks of expertise to offer non-financial support also.

Look out for more info on the successful applicants over the next few months – and for round 2 of the Brixton Fund in spring 2016.

You can contribute to the Brixton Fund and boost its funding power! Simply by using B£ pay-by-text (1.5% of each transaction goes into the Fund), playing Brixton Bonus, or buying stuff in the B£ Shop. It’s never been easier to be a positive force in your local community!

And if you work for an organisation that would like to contribute to the Brixton Fund and strengthen Brixton’s grass roots – we’re only a phone call or an email away!

p.s. we’re hosting a beautiful table decorated by the members of the Healthy Living Club here in the Brixton Pound Shop. It’s up for auction – and all revenue goes towards supporting the club’s amazing work. So come down, have a look, and place your bids!

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