If you love podcasts and love the Brixton Pound, we’ve got a treat for you. Our Kitchen Manager Sean has recorded his first podcast. And it’s all about the subjects dear to our hearts: food poverty, radical health and environmental activism. Sean is chatting with Hannah Cousins and the podcast is recorded by Ralph Pritchard. Listen here: https://www.mixcloud.com/brixton_pound/b-episode-1/
We are definitely not bringing Christmas into October but we’ve just released these beautiful collectors’ packs of first editions which will make ace presents (any time of the year). They are uncirculated, in mint condition and therefore extremely rare. When they’ve gone, well, yes, they’ve gone. The pack contains an Olive Morris note, a James Lovelock note, a CLR James note and a Vincent van Gogh note. And they’re just £25. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like one.
From the end of August 2018, we have retired the ability to pay by text in Brixton Pounds as we explore other innovative ways of paying with local currency. The paper Brixton Pounds remain a great way of boosting our local economy and strengthening our community.
If you are a business or individual who opened a pay-by-text account in the past, we wanted to say a huge thank you for your support. It’s been so important for us. We have sent emails to everyone with an account to let them know next steps. Please email email@example.com if you’d like us to send it again.
You can use our paper currency in many shops and restaurants in and around Brixton, including the Brixton Pound Cafe. We know it encourages local trade, maintains the diversity of the high street and sustains pride in Brixton.
We rely on the support of people like you to continue our progressive work. Whether it’s eating a delicious pay-what-you-can lunch made from surplus food, hiring space or taking part in low-cost reiki, yoga, film nights or supper clubs, your involvement in our work is hugely beneficial. We will be consulting the wider community when we develop our new payment platform. Thank you once again and we look forward to seeing you at the cafe very soon.
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.
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.
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
Mon – Fri 8am – 7pm
Sat 10am – 6pm
Congrats to the latest Brixton Bonus winner, Miss South! A Brixton food blogger and food and drink editor at the Brixton Blog and Bugle, she is also the author of the amazing Recipes from Brixton Village, a collection of recipes contributed from traders as well as her own recipes showcasing Brixton produce.
Miss South was actually one of the first to start playing Brixton Bonus when we launched it last June – read her article from back then on what she’d spend her prize on if she won. 12 months later, she is actually a Brixton Bonus Thousandaire, and wrote another piece for us now that she actually has B£1,000 to spend!
“I’ve been a big fan of the Brixton Pound since it started over five years ago, but to my eternal shame I never used it that much. I kept forgetting to go to Morleys for paper notes and I blew all the credit I put on the text account on wine at a party B£ hosted the same night and never topped up again.
Then the Brixton Pound launched the Brixton Bonus and I decided this was an excellent time to get involved. In signing up on the website, I discovered I had £14 in my text account from someone buying Recipes from Brixton Village from me at the Lambeth Country Show two years ago in the pouring rain.
Perfect for a disorganised person, I set up a standing order for two tickets a month by the magic of the internet and forget about it. Until I got an unexpected phone call to say I’d won the £1000 prize and then I definitely remembered I’d played!
Registered in my real name, this was the genuine luck of the draw and I was thrilled. The beauty of the Bonus for me is that’s all disposable income to spend with local independent traders in my own community. I can’t accidentally fritter it away on the gas bill. I’ve got to go out and spend it proactively instead.
I’d done a piece for B£ when they launched the Bonus as to what I’d spend it on if I won and interestingly I haven’t done a single thing off that list yet. Partly because the list of traders who accept B£ has increased so much, and because I also realised it was a good way to do things locally that don’t just involve me eating for once.
Instead I wanted to finally get some stuff framed that’s been sitting round my flat for years looking forlorn, and need to go in to see Studio 73 about that. I’ve been having a few niggling health issues and immediately booked in with both Brixton Therapy Centre and Brixton Community Acupuncture to ease those (or kid myself I’m not just getting old!)
I plan to make a donation to both Brixton Advice Centre and Brixton and Norwood Food Bank who both do fantastic community work and very rarely have disposable income or choices on how to spend their money.
And then I might just eat my way round Brixton. There’s always somewhere new to try round here and it would be a shame to not to stuff myself for the good of the community…”
How can you be the next winner?
It’s very simple: buy a ticket online or at the B£ Shop for £1 – you can get anywhere between 1 and 10 tickets to help your chances – and on Friday, 1st July you can walk away with one of the following:
- A Brixton Grand – B£1,000 all of your own to spend on whatever you fancy!
- 4 cocktails to share with a friend at the snazzy Seven at Brixton, official Brixton Fund partner.
- One of 5 B£20 runners-up cash prizes to treat yourself with
And if you fancy some extra rewards, we give them out to anyone who sets up a recurring monthly entry, starting at £1/month – more details here. Most importantly of all, all revenue from the Brixton Bonus goes into the Brixton Fund!
Urszula won the April draw of the Brixton Bonus. She joins the growing crowd of winners, who are featured in our Winners Gallery – have a look! And make sure you get some Bonus tickets before the next draw on 27th May – who knows, it could be you next time! Better yet, set up a recurring entry to never miss a chance for a Brixton Grand – and get some extra goodies as a reward from us.
“I read about the Bonus in the Bugle where there was an article about it. And I thought that you stood a better chance of winning the Bonus than the National Lottery! I had been playing for a few months before I won, and thought that whether I win or not, it’s really good that the money raised goes towards funding local groups around Brixton. Giving a chance to people who perhaps would find it hard to get funding otherwise. Everyone deserves a chance, and when you work hard and have an idea sometimes you just need a little bit of help to keep you going and spur you on. And then winning was just a surprise!”
“I would like to take my family out for a meal when everyone’s at home! Other than that I have been to my favourite shop Market Row Wines, I think that was the first place where I bought something with my winnings. Then some pizza from Franco Manca. And also new gloves from Brixton Cycles! It has made me more aware of which shops take B£ and which do not. I do think it would be really good if more shops joined in the scheme. People want to spend their money locally; more shops just need to be convinced. But yes, it has made me find out more about spending in local shops.”
“I’m also going to donate some of my winnings to the Ebony Horse Club in Loughborough Junction. I think opportunities for people to have a go at things they normally wouldn’t get the chance to do are great!“
“I do think it has been really good that B£ has had a physical embodiment on the high street. It makes people much more aware of them. Because it is on the high street it meant I could go in and talk to a real person and find out more about the Bonus and what it does.”
“I’ve lived in Brixton for 30 years now, and I’ve always shopped in the market, the health food shop, the fabric shop, veg shop, Franco Manca… And just the covered markets in general. Before that I used to come here when I was a student, the markets have always been a really good place to shop: I would come to buy fruit and veg here because there was no market near where I lived. You get all kinds stuff: fish, fruit, fabrics… You could always buy unusual things too – the Reliance Arcade was a great place for that! Even my mum in the 50s used to shop in the market when she first came to London. All you need in a neighbourhood is a park and a market.”
Would you wanna win B£1,000 while supporting the local economy and the Brixton Fund too? Go ahead, play the Brixton Bonus!
Zoe Adjonyoh, who runs Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen in POP Brixton, won the March draw of the Brixton Bonus. She joins the small crowd of winners, who are featured in our Winners Gallery – have a look! And make sure you get some Bonus tickets before the next draw on 29th April – who knows, it could be you next time! Better yet, set up a recurring entry to never miss a chance for a Brixton Grand – and get some extra goodies as a reward from us.
B£’s apprentice Dominic had a chat with Zoe about Brixton, her business, and how she plans on spending her B£1,000:
When did you first come to Brixton?
I used to come to Brixton a lot as a kid, when my Dad emigrated from Ghana he lived in Brixton with his Aunt at the time. I grew up in Woolwich but later on when I was a student, Brixton was a good destination to go out for parties.
So what are your favourite things to do in Brixton?
Before I started the business I liked going clubbing and dance nights too but now I don’t have much free time to socialize, so when I do I like to get a cocktail from Seven. I also go into the village when I can to have dinner at Fish Wings and Tings. I also just like walking around Brixton, when I go down into the market I just enjoy chatting to the people in the market.
Brixton is a very vibrant, fun, friendly place and that’s why people want to come here.
What major changes have you seen from when you first came to Brixton to now?
I think Brixton has changed substantially, it used to have a vibe in the 80s and 90s where there was a lot of tension; race politics was a big deal, not just in Brixton but in lots of places across London where there was a strong black community. Race relations with the police weren’t great and it was a period of change for how people addressed those issues, a lot of stuff happened in the 80s politically, not just in Brixton, that forced changes for the better. In my mind Brixton has always been very colourful and live and energetic and that is still true today, but we have seen a migration into Brixton from other parts of London and other parts of the UK: the demographic has changed slightly, there are more people here with more spending power.
Do you think that’s a good or a bad thing?
I think when it’s balanced it’s okay, it’s ok to have new money coming in, but you don’t want that to happen at the expense of the people already living here, which is difficult. What’s great about Brixton is how community minded it is, which is quite rare in London. It thinks of itself as a community, and even people that come into Brixton respect that community and that’s important. Brixton has become a destination for people to go out, eat good food, listen to good music and celebrate all of the colourful things that Brixton provides culturally.
There’s always going to be a downside to “progress” because unfortunately when a destination becomes a popular place to go to, the knock-on effect is that there are rent increases and value of land gets higher, and that prices out a lot of people that have been in Brixton potentially all their life. It links to what’s happening with Brixton Arches, businesses that have been there for 20, 30 years are under threat for financial reasons. And you would hope that some consideration is put into keeping cornerstones of the community alive rather than bulldozing everyone out just to get more money out of residents.
Is it progress? I don’t know, but it’s definitely development which is always going to have controversies surrounding it. What’s great about Pop Brixton is the idea that we are occupying land that was empty beforehand so we haven’t displaced any other businesses or anything else. I think every business in here, especially through the giveback scheme, is really concerned not to be disharmonious with the Brixton community. I in particular want to be part of it, it’s important for me and it’s important for my business. It’s the thing with displacing people in communities in favour of financial gain.
Where did your interest in cooking come from?
I’ve always been curious about food, I’ve always loved eating food and cooking for people and particularly Ghanaian food. My Dad used to come home with traditional Ghanaian ingredients that were mysterious and exotic and I was intrigued and wanted to know more about it and wanted to know how to cook it. It was also a strong link for me back to those cultural roots in Ghana because we didn’t have any Ghanaian relatives in London. Both my parents are immigrants so we were quite a small family and didn’t have any extended family to speak of. We didn’t have access directly to that cultural heritage, so the food was a way in and something that I connected with and it’s just grown and grown.
When did you first decide you wanted to open a restaurant?
I’ve been doing Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen since 2011, I started doing supper clubs, event catering and street food, and we still do all those things. Pop Brixton is our first proper restaurant space.
Did you always plan to open a restaurant from a young age?
No, I never had an ambition to become a cook or a restaurateur or anything like that. It’s been a peculiar journey but an exciting and interesting one. It’s been a very organic process I didn’t decide one day I wanted to do – this just kind of kept happening.
So how did you get into it?
It started one day when I set up a little stall outside my house selling a dish which is basically peanut butter stew or soup which is a Ghanaian dish. I used to cook it a lot for my friends, it’s one of my favourite foods that I ate growing up. So one day when there was a festival going on in my neighbourhood I thought I might be able to make some money and it proved very popular and created a nice social gathering outside my house. People kept coming back and then wanted me to do it again, so the following year I turned my flat into a restaurant, I put in lots of tables and chairs and African fabrics and it had a real restaurant atmosphere. I called it Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen and we sold out every day for three days and were constantly full, people were trying to book and come back but I could not continue like that because it was my living room. I took down people’s email address so that next time, a few months later, I could notify people. From word of mouth it became more frequent and got some press, and then from there I started to be hired for catering and asked to residencies.
What would you say your business offers?
It offers tasty Ghanaian food at affordable prices in a restaurant setting. Our whole concept is about bringing food from Ghana and making it accessible; making as many people as we can possibly reach aware of how great the Ghanaian food and ingredients are, and just about celebrating food culture from Ghana. We do everything we can to support and raise the profile of food from Africa generally and specifically Ghana.
Where did the interest in the Brixton Pound come from and why did you accept it?
When I first got here I was very keen to take the Brixton Pound because I think it’s a great idea, it’s a great way of keeping money in the local economy and encouraging people to shop local, which is something that aligns with my ethos of how I want my business to function and run, and because it was so easily ready and available to sign up I decided to do it!
Do you have any other future plans or projects planned?
I’ve got quite a lot of different projects in the pipeline right now; we have a cookbook coming out in April next year, I’m opening a second space hopefully by the end of the year outside of Brixton. Possibly launch our own brand of sauces and ready meals so people can eat our stuff at home easily. The idea behind opening it here was to test what we do in a restaurant setting and see if it will be a viable business with a view to opening a full restaurant in the next year or two. We are looking at a couple of potential sites for the future so hopefully by next year I’ll be able to open a second space that probably has at least 20 or 30 covers.
What will you do with your Brixton Bonus winnings?
I haven’t decided yet, but I’m sure at some point it will be spent on a staff night out at a local bar or restaurant, and I may also use it to give the team bonuses.
Today we are unveiling the world’s first local currency cash machine! Designed and produced by Kind Studio, it is situated in Market Row and available in the market’s operating hours: 8am – 11:30pm Tuesday to Sunday, and 8am – 6pm on Mondays. Which means you can get your hands on paper B£s at almost any time of the day!
The cash machine will aid Brixton Pound in furthering its mission to showcase what a social economy might look like in Brixton, and will give local residents an increased opportunity to spend paper B£s to support these values and imagine a better world. It will also help us achieve our vision – that a different high street is possible.
The cash machine is funded by The Mayor’s High Street Fund, and forms part of a wide range of initiatives in Brixton supporting businesses in the town centre. The High Street Fund is helping Brixton and its existing and emerging traders, hand in hand with the innovative Brixton Pound project.
B£’s Tom Shakhli said:
“Our cash machine is the latest in our challenge to the conventional view that we’re moving towards a cashless society, and gives locals and visitors to Brixton an opportunity to experiment with money that celebrates community and creates conversations rather than closes them off.”
If you check it out, let us know what you think! #brixtoncashpoint
The December Brixton Bonus was already our 6th draw, and a very special one at that – on Christmas Eve we drew the big winner and 15 runner-ups – so an extra ten people got brand new B£ merchandise as an early BriXmas present! (If you weren’t one of the lucky ones, fear not – we’ve got some left at the B£ Shop!)
But surely it was the person who scooped the Brixton Grand whose Xmas was gonna look particularly merry and bright…
The big winner this time was Linda Quinn, who happens to be the editor of the Brixton Blog and Bugle. We contacted Linda to let her know she’s won… only to hear that she’d like to donate the whole sum to the Brixton Fund! Talk about a BriXmas miracle (and amazing generosity)!
Many of our previous winners have been amazingly generous and donated large portions of their prizes to the likes of Brixton Soup Kitchen and Brixton Foodbank, but it was the first time in Brixton Bonus history that the winner has donated an entirety of their B£1,000 prize. Needless to say we are amazed, and immensely grateful!
Linda, who became Brixton Blog and Bugle’s editor in September, has lived in Brixton since 1975. She has a background in local and national journalism and PR, and what was of particular interest to us, she used to work at the Big Lottery Fund for 15 years! We took Linda out for lunch to thank her for her amazingly generous donation, and to talk about how Brixton Bonus differs from the National Lottery. Well, for starters, it’s the odds that are different! Linda told us:
“It used to be 14 million to one to win, but now it’s more like 60 million to one. And with Brixton Bonus? For this draw I bought ten tickets, which is the maximum monthly amount. I think I saw an ad on the Blog or in the Bugle, and decided to enter. When I first found out that I won, I thought I’d buy the Blog and Bugle office some new equipment, but then I decided not to. I knew about the Brixton Fund, and I decided I wanted my B£1,000 to help some small local community group – that will be a good use for it!”
During our lunch at Parissi we told Linda more about the community groups we already funded through the Brixton Fund: Brixton Youth Forum, Healthy Living Club (which you can read more about in our recent blog post!), Young People Matter, and AGT Social. She said it would be great to have more coverage about their activities on the Blog and in the Bugle – we’re hoping that it will indeed happen and those amazing groups get the exposure they deserve! We also chatted to Linda about the complex and diverse history of Brixton (did you know that the facade of the Eurolink Business Centre on Effra Road is a remnant of a synagogue that served Brixton’s Jewish population for most of the 20th century?) and discovered she was a big Bowie fan:
“I was amazed at the outpouring following Bowie’s passing – I have never seen anything like it happen for a pop star. He made art music, it transcended generations.”
Read more about all the Bonus winners to date in our Winners Gallery, and if you fancy joining their ranks – get some Bonus tickets before the next draw on 29th January – who knows, it could be you next time! Better yet, set up a recurring entry to never miss a chance for a Brixton Grand – and get some extra goodies as a reward from us – including the famous Bowie tenner.
This post was researched and written by B£ volunteer Fabien Piesakowski-O’Neill.
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’d like to introduce you to Jonny and Liam, owners of the cocktail bars Seven at Brixton and Three Eight Four. The bars offer a wide selection of cocktails, beers, wines, and tapas. Many B£ businesses have organised staff drinks at one of the bars (paid for in B£s of course!), and we heard these were always good times!
Jonny and Liam told us a bit about the story behind Seven and Three Eight Four:
“We walked past 7 Market Row (where Seven is now located) in mid-2011 and immediately wanted in! We started up with a tap, a sink, and a bar, and managed to blag, build and find a bit of furniture (4 years later our two large tables on the ground floor are still standing, both were chucked out on the street from an office above the Prince of Wales!) and grew things organically, got some money in the bank, and then got an ice machine, and other stuff. I still remember the mess we came into after the launch night, regretting not taking out a loan for a glass washing machine but that came after a while! Like many others, we found Brixton an inspirational place and thought we could cater for the cocktail and tapas needs of the community. There was and still definitely is a buzz on the streets throughout Brixton.”
“Three Eight Four opened a few years later, in 2014, and gave us an opportunity to do another exciting thing in Brixton. We felt like we could offer something more than what we were offering at Seven: a more comfortable, relaxed setting with some more bespoke, delicate cocktails and dishes. We saw the space and were ready for a new challenge.”
“We built both bars because we wanted to be fantastic neighbourhood cocktail bars and kitchens. The difference is what kind of mood they’re in. At Three Eight Four there’s more time to peruse the menu and a much larger selection from our classic cocktail album, and at Seven you can book the whole of the upstairs for a Friday night party with your mates. The thing that makes both bars so satisfying for us is the number of people who choose to book with us for their special occasions. We’ve had 21st’s to 50th’s, wedding receptions, and our first ever engagement at Seven last week – they met there on a night out 3 years ago!”
Johnny and Liam are working with various local suppliers to create the food and drinks menus at Seven and Three Eight Four: “Our meats come from Jones the Butcher based up in Herne Hill, Brindisa have long been our supplier for Spanish goods, our seafood supplier is based in Bermondsey, breads are from Flour Power in New Cross Gate, fruit and veg from Mike at New Covent Garden Market (soon to be the American Embassy I think!), even our churros come from Spain via Shepperton!”
“Beer wise, we have a rotating guest slot for London beers at both Seven and Three Eight Four. We’ve welcomed beers from Coldharbour Hell Yeah from Clarkshaws on Coldharbour Lane, Orbit in Elephant & Castle, Canopy in Herne Hill, 40ft in Dalston, Five Points and Pressure Drop in Hackney, we’ll soon be welcoming Belleville from Clapham. We think its really important to give new breweries the opportunity to get a foot in the door and get their product out there so it’s a really exciting part of the business for us. We’re currently hoping to develop something very exciting with Brixton Brewery so watch this space!”
“We offer 10% off for B£ users as per back in the day! Our latest cocktail menu at Seven also gave each guest B£1 with every Brixton Sour they bought. We thought it was a great way to promote the organisation and put the actual currency in people’s hands! Hopefully it’s done something for the local economy and improved the circulation of notes – I think we’ve cleared you out at one point actually!”
“Seven also holds an upstairs gallery which provides a platform for local artists to exhibit their wares and show off what they are doing. We’re in a very very creative part of London and it’s often important for artists to get that foot in door – we’d like to think we’ve helped people on their way with this. Different artists who have work with us have, as a result, been featured in fashion shoots for Topman, French Connection and ASOS, a few have had works commissions and one artist is now designing the labels for our wine supplier.”
“At the moment we have works up from the Brothers of the Stripe, a group of artists based around London, we’ve had Adam Hemuss, a local artist whose works are quite mesmerising and very very detailed, fantastic artwork that almost comes to life after one or two mojitos. We had a few installation pieces when we opened from a couple of lads from Camberwell Arts College, it was very interesting and quite conceptual for the time, similarly some work from Ella Harrison, a previous staff member – her work is still in the toilet at the moment! Id-iom, a South London based graffiti duo, they did lots of work at the beginning, most of which can still be seen at the bottom of the stairs, and Ellie Jane did some fantastic stuff upstairs a few years back.”
“Our new Autumn/Winter menu has just launched at both bars. We love for our staff to create new drinks for our guests, we think its really important to change with the seasons and get the staff to get their cocktails on the menu.”
If you haven’t checked out Seven’s and Three Eight Four’s new menu yet – get on it! #friday
Seven is located in Brixton Market at 7 Market Row
Hours – Mon 9am to 6pm. Tues – Sat 9am-11.30pm. Sun 10am-11.30pm http://www.sevenatbrixton.com
Three Eight Four is located at 384 Coldharbour Lane
Hours – Mon – Fri 5pm till late. Sat & Sun 11am till late