Tag Archives: shopping

#BrixtonBonus Meet The Winner: Miss South

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…”

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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!

#BrixtonBonus Meet The Winner: Urszula

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!

#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.”

#BrixtonBonus – Meet The Winner: Manda

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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 🙂

#BrixtonBonus – Meet the winner: Kam

We have another Brixton Bonus winner! Kam Nathan, a first time Bonus player, took home B£1,000 on 30th October, which happened to be the day before her birthday! She joins the small crowd of Bonus winners, some of whom are featured in our Winners Gallery – have a look! And make sure you get some Bonus tickets before the next draw on 27th November – just in time for some BriXmas shopping!

It's Your Local Market

Kam lives on the Angell Town estate in Brixton, and first heard of the Brixton Bonus when she came to the launch of It’s Your Local Market, a new, weekly Saturday market created by Angell Town resident Andrea Brown to bring the community spirit back to the area and for residents to sell locally sourced food and affordable clothing and crafts. It’s been funded by the London Community Foundation. Kam came by the B£ stall, chatted to us, and bought a Bonus ticket – which she promptly forgot about… until she got the email from us!

 

 

It was my birthday on 31st so I feel blessed. I will spend some in Morleys, at the make up counter, for sure! And buy some Christmas bits for my family. But most of it will go on me! I would like go to Brixton Village to eat out – with the amount I won I could go every week to treat myself to a meal! That would be nice, I haven’t done that in a long time. And I like how a lot of food in the Village is healthy. I’d rather go there and eat something better than spend money at McDonald’s.”

photo credit: Evening Standard / Matt Writtle

photo credit: Evening Standard / Matt Writtle

“I work at a nursery. I’m also involved in a few projects at Angell Town – a children’s theatre project, My London which gets people to visit different places around town, to build social and cultural intelligence. These are part of a project Angell Town’s been running at the Evening Standard. I’m a mother of five, my oldest just turned 18 and the youngest is 2. My kids are almost more excited about the prize than I am! My younger son really wants some computer games, can I buy those with Brixton Pounds?”

“I’ve lived in Brixton most of my life, and seen many shops come and go. I think keeping money in the community is a good thing to do – I want to support local shops in Brixton. I used to come to A&C Continental Deli – they had the best carrots and pumpkins around. I haven’t used Brixton Pounds before, but knew about them, I’ve noticed signs in shops and knew that it keeps the money in the community. I will start using them more now! And I’m really glad that B£ keeps their pounds sterling at the Credit Union – I have an account there myself, it’s very good – it helps local people, gives them loans.”

“The best part about winning is that I’m going to treat myself! I haven’t had much chance to do that so this is very exciting.”

Would you like a chance to treat yourself as well? Go get some Bonus tickets before the next draw on 27th November – 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.

Read more about all the Bonus winners to date in our Winners Gallery.

 

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.”

#Yourpound: Meet the Trader – House of Bottles

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

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

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

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

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

Latest businesses to join the B£

A warm welcome to all the new businesses who have joined us recently!

OnTrack Sports Therapy – at Fitness First, Blue Star House, Stockwell Road, SW9 9SP. info@ontracksportstherapy.co.uk. Offering 10% off to B£ customers.

The Ford Clinic, Nutritional Therapy – at Fitness First, Blue Star House, Stockwell Road, SW9 9SP. louise@thefordclinic.co.uk

Copacabana – 12-14 Market Row, SW9 8LD. Authentic Brazilian cuisine.Offering 10% to B£ customers.

Casa Sibilla – Unit 67-68, Granville Arcade, SW8 9PS. Fresh Italian food prepared from scratch in front of you. Offering 10% every Tuesday to B£ customers

First Choice Bakers – 40 Atlantic Road, SW8 8JW. Producers of finest Jamaican Patties, cakes, buns, breads.

WAG Free Food – 26 Granville Arcade, SW9 8PR.  Freshly baked wheat and gluten free bread, pies, cakes and pastries.

KUBIFIT – Personal training programs, group exercises, in and outdoors.

Mobile Care – 1 Atlantic Road, SW9 8HX. Mobile phone sales and support.

Please do say hello and show them your support, in the shape of our lovely notes….