Tag Archives: brixton pound

The first local currency cash machine opens in Brixton today

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!

001 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.

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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

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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.

London Bye Ta-Ta. David Bowie, Brixton boy.

Could the Man Who Fell to Earth have landed anywhere other than SW9?

We always knew Bowie was a Brixton boy. 40 Stansfield Road, the Brixton Pound tenner, latterly Aladdin Sane next to Morleys. It was cool.

But what with the preachers and the drummers and the snapper and the hipsters and the drunks and the drugs; the evictions and the Foxtons and the Albert and Academy it was just one of those Brixton things. We never gave it that much thought. Everyone has to come from somewhere. Even Major Tom.

Then came Monday morning.

Swiftly Brixton and Bowie made utter sense. Sure, there were other places he called home – New York, Berlin, Bromley, Beckenham – but Brixton was where the magic began. And as thousands of people have made their way to party and to pay respects, Brixton has become the most pertinent of pilgrimages.

More meaningful than Kurt’s Seattle Center or Diana’s Kensington Palace Gates – Brixton stands as perfect metaphor for Bowie and his unique importance.

And it is unique – unique to each of us; changing for all of us. It’s being written about everywhere. The moment Bowie told us all it was OK to be different. Different to our parents, different to each other.

Whether blasting out of Top Of The Pops with Mick Ronson and Starman or lambasting MTV for their lack of black artists; outing himself in Melody Maker or turning us on to the Velvet Underground, Bowie was – is – proof positive that there’s always another way to live. A semi-secular saint preaching curiosity, creativity, tolerance and taking-it-to-the-limit.

Like the place of his birth, Bowie’s an enigmatic flame attracting all manner of moths. Rooted like Brixton in the grand traditions of music hall and theatre; emblematic of the seismic post-war societal shifts. At once transporting and utterly down-to-earth.

So as the flowers on Brixton Road pile ever-higher, the Brixton Pound calls for a permanent tribute to SW9’s prettiest star.

A monumental piece of public art in a prominent Brixton location.

From one London character to another, a heartfelt thank you.

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Written by Charlie Waterhouse of This Ain’t Rock’n’Roll who designed the 2nd edition Brixton Pound notes (including the famous Bowie tenner)

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 🙂

#YourPound: Meet the Trader – Seven and Three Eight Four

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.”

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Seven At Brixton and Three Eight Four

Seven At Brixton and Three Eight Four

“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!”

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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!”

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“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.”

The upstairs gallery at Seven

“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
HoursMon 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
HoursMon – Fri 5pm till late. Sat & Sun 11am till late
http://www.threeeightfour.com

B£ heads to Calais

Max of the B£ is driving to Calais this Saturday morning to drop off donated supplies and help out a bit. You could easily get involved too!

If  you have any of the following items and would like to donate them please drop them into the Brixton Pound Shop (3 Atlantic Road, SW9 8HX) by 1pm Friday 27th November in order for them to make it onto the ferry! Anything you can give will be much appreciated.

(Although please do not be tempted to donate any items not listed here, as there is no storage in Calais for surplus items.)

· SHOES, mainly in men’s sizes (these are really badly needed)
· Big coats
· Waterproofs (in the form of coats/ trousers/ tarpaulin)
· Good quality trousers/ jeans
· Long johns/general warm underclothes
· Boxers
· Socks
· Gloves, scarves, hats
· Warm sleeping stuff
· Towels
· Shampoo
· Food – tinned or dry

Many thanks!

Other links for Calais solidarity:

Calais Migrant Solidarity: http://calaismigrantsolidarity.wordpress.com/
Caravans for Calais: http://caravansforcalais.org.uk/
CalAid: http://www.calaid.co.uk/

#Brixton Fund – Local Group of the Month: Hatch

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

Every month the Brixton Bonus provides revenue for the Brixton Fund, our new micro-grants scheme in Brixton for projects looking to create employment, challenge injustice and create community benefit.

Hatch is a free of charge program aimed at helping entrepreneurs aged 18-30 who are looking to start up or grow their own business. Hatch gives them crucial business support through a 12 week long incubator program. The next Hatch incubator scheme is due to start at the end of January 2016 – apply for the next round hereOr maybe you have invaluable info for young businesses? Become a Hatch mentor!

Lots of small businesses and start-ups crop up every year, but they often don’t have access to expert business knowledge or funding, and the need for both is very real – on average only about 20% new enterprises make it past 18 months.

To address this issue and provide early support and guidance, Dirk Bischof started the Hatch incubator program in 2014. It’s been very successful: 90% of the businesses leaving the incubator are still operational 6 months after program end.

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B£ caught up with Dirk who told us more about what inspired him to start Hatch, how it works and what it’s already achieved. 

I knew how hard it is to start a business or social enterprise when you’re younger, having started my first business at 24. I knew that support is essential to get off to the right start. I was always fascinated with incubators and accelerators and the way they build an ecosystem of support around the entrepreneurs. I knew that this was what I wanted to provide to early stage entrepreneurs and their enterprises.”

“There wasn’t anything like this locally, and having been in Brixton for over 6 years we knew there was a demand for specialist and holistic support. After a 2-year pilot and my personal experience of going through an accelerator programme (at the Young Foundation), we had a great team together, a solid programme, and the financial backing to get started. We use the lean methodology so every Hatch program is an experiment: we try to improve, make mistakes, learn from them, and be useful to the amazing entrepreneurs we get to work with.”

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So far over 40 different businesses have been through the incubator program, ranging from community organisations like Brixton Soup Kitchen to start-ups like Snact. Brixton Soup Kitchen provides food, hot meals, and information to the homeless in Brixton. They joined Hatch’s program to put together a business plan and get their organisation further. Snact are a local social enterprise developing creative solutions to food waste and food poverty, and this is what they said about their Hatch experience: 

Starting a business is fun and rewarding, but it’s also full of challenges, and for those we needed some help. The Hatch incubator came up as the right opportunity at the right time for us to work through some core business issues and get support from the One Planet Ventures team.”

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Dirk agrees that there are lots of challenges when starting a business, and it’s not just at the very start that you need support: Starting a business is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. That means we have to keep on building our support ecosystem to be effective for people coming to us with business ideas, to those that have tested it, and who go through Hatch, for our alumni. At the moment we need to ensure that we can deliver Hatch to the best of our abilities, delivering consistent quality, supporting not just the new entrepreneurs on the programme but be of service and use to those that have come through our doors already. We have now tested and piloted Hatch in four other countries in Europe, to learn how it could work elsewhere. We’d like to put Hatch into many more communities in London to support many more people to start their own businesses.”

“Hatch is currently looking for funding that would allow us to provide the early venture support needed to run more business experiments. Some of them will work out, all of them will provide learning opportunities for the individuals and the communities involved. Exciting times really!”

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So how does Hatch work exactly? The incubator program is spread over 12 weeks and aims to help start-ups in a number of different ways. Dirk told B£ more about each stage:

Workshops

The Hatch program consists of 20 workshops. Conducted by industry experts, they cover a range of subjects essential to start-ups.  Subjects include: building a business model canvas (BMC), financial modeling, how to get funding, professional storytelling, marketing, crowdfunding.

Mentoring

Hatch will match you with one or two mentors depending on your needs. These mentors generally work at established businesses and have specific knowledge and expertise of the areas you might need help with. Subjects include business development, financial modeling, sales and marketing, and other skills useful to start-ups.

Space Provision

Hatch can help you get access to office, workshop or retail space. We are working with local partners such as the Impact Hub Brixton, the Remakery, The Market Traders Association of Brixton, and many other organisations offering physical space.

Funding

Hatch helped raise £97,200 in grants last year alone, and offers a chance to win £500 on Pitch Day which concludes each 12-week incubator series.

Networking

Hatch gives the potential to open up new business links that may otherwise have not been available between local businesses and with mentors.

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The next Hatch incubator scheme is due to start at the end of January 2016 – apply for the next round hereOr maybe you have invaluable info for young businesses? Become a Hatch mentor!

Whenever you buy a Brixton Bonus ticket, you will be contributing to the Fund, which will then support groups like Hatch. One more reason to get involved!

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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Important pay-by-text update: new number!

Brixton Pound_Pay By Text_Sticker_ARTWORKYou may have noticed that when you pay-by-text you receive a confirmation text from 07754 832 867, even if you sent your payment to our old number. That’s because we’re moving over to a new number: 07754 832 867 – please update it in your phones and send all B£ pay-by-text payments to it. The old number will be phased out on November 2nd.

The reason for this is to keep ALL texts to B£ free – or, if texts are not included in your plan, charged at a standard rate. We know some of you on GiffGaff and similar plans had issues with paying for texts when they should have been free – that should be resolved on 07754 832 867. Three cheers for free texts!

#BrixtonBonus – Meet the Winner: Will

We have another Brixton Bonus winner! Will Bugler was the lucky person who got B£1,000 in the August draw. He joins the small crowd of 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 25th September – 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.

Become a…

You can set up your recurring entry here. You must have a B£ account, to register for one, go here. Entries must be set to recur indefinitely to unlock rewards (n.b. they can be cancelled at any time).

Brixton Pound met Will at the Market House pub on Coldharbour Lane to find out a bit more about him and his grand Bonus experience:

“I moved to Brixton five years ago with my girlfriend. That time’s gone really quick! I didn’t know anything about Brixton before I moved here. My family left London when I was five, and back then the area had a very different reputation,  so I came not knowing what to expect at all. It’s amazing how quickly you build a rapport with Brixton – it rubbed off on me pretty instantly.”

“It’s so vibrant, and such a mix of cultures. Of course I’m aware of how quickly it’s changing. Five years is nothing compared to how long some people have been here, and already it seems like there were barely any restaurants then, and now the whole neighbourhood has exploded with them. I’m aware of that change, but also conscious of the fact that I’m part of it. I think it’s important to have that awareness of being part of the process, so that you can support things that go the other way, make sure you contribute to something good.”

“The Brixton Pound is a great example, it’s an easy and tangible way of contributing to the area, keeping money circulating within it, of being more socially responsible. What makes Brixton great is its diversity, and using B£ is a very practical step towards preserving it. It’s sometimes tough to know how to change things, you often get the sense you’re stuck because it’s all governmental politics with issues such as increasing rent which is currently the biggest factor driving people out of the area. It’s a lot safer around here, but surely that doesn’t mean it has to be at the cost of diversity? You have to put pressure on politicians, but it’s completely different to have this power to do something different in your everyday life, like pay with B£s. It takes a conscious effort, but more people should be aware of their impact, and how they can offset at least some of it.”

“I work in climate change adaptation – not carbon cutting, but advising companies how to change their behaviour, practices and policies because of what we know is already happening to the climate. I was already interested in local currencies, and then I saw the B£ with Bowie on it and thought, that’s so cool! I found out about Bonus from the Brixton Blog and thought it was a brilliant idea: more people will know about the currency, and it’s a way to keep them spending it, keep the money circulating. I already had some B£s in my account so I got tickets, but I didn’t expect to win!”

“What will I do with my prize? I’ve donated some of it already to Brixton Soup Kitchen and the Norwood and Brixton Foodbank. Solomon who runs Brixton Soup Kitchen is such a great Brixton character. I want to give some to Brixton People’s Kitchen, too. I took my girlfriend out to Casa Sibilla, it’s run by people who used to be our neighbours. I called up this new place, Naughty Piglets, they don’t take B£ yet but seemed very keen, can you get in touch with them? I’m gonna spend some at Brixton Cycles, too – I’m a cyclist, and they’ve got a fundraising campaign going on because their premises are under threat, so it will be good to support them. And with the weather changing I should really get some waterproofs! I’m sure there’s a lot of other places where I can spend B£s, I just have to form the habit – we’re here in Market House which takes B£, but I completely forgot and paid in regular pounds. Oh, and I will buy more Bonus tickets!

“I’d like to stay in Brixton. It gets under your skin. It’s such a real location, like its own town, you don’t get the same feeling anywhere else. I love the creative vibe, but also how down to earth everyone is. And it’s always loud, and crowded, and in your face, you get out of the tube station and there’s people playing drums and someone shouting about Jesus and all that is weirdly comforting, maybe because it’s so alive. It’s not sanitised. A lot of the problems are really wider London problems, but I guess they are more noticeable here exactly because there’s such a strong local identity.”