Tag Archives: Brixton Soup Kitchen

#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.”

New Year's Resolutions

We’re never going to tell you to diet (all bodies are beautiful). But there are a few things we at B£ would like to do, or do more of, in 2015, and we thought we’d share our thoughts with you.

1) Keep shopping locally.

You all did a stellar job at shopping locally at BriXmas – thank you! Supporting independent businesses and a resilient local economy is a year-round kind of thing though, so it would be great if more of us did more of it. Using B£s is a great way to show your love for a unique, diverse, independent Brixton – and there aren’t many things you *can’t* buy (Aromatherapy, Belly dancing, Comedy club… and many many more all the way till Z). Next time you need something: everyday things (groceries, dry cleaning, DIY supplies), special occasion things (wellness treatments, jewellery, flowers) – check out the B£ Directory and see if you can get it in your local independent business and pay in B£s.

2) Save money – set up a B£ standing order

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Many B£ users have told us before that using B£ actually *saved* them money –  it’s so easy to manage your expenses. Set up a standing order for a sum of your choice – B£20, 30, maybe 50 a month, and try to do your all your shopping with it. It helps to buy what you need and when you need it. Going to big chain stores and supermarkets usually ends with buying lots of things you didn’t want or need in the first place. And what you do spend benefits the community!

 3) Get to know your neighbourhood better

You can explore the B£ Directory – visit businesses you didn’t know were right there, on your doorstep. But Brixton is so much bigger than that, and its rich history and communities can sometimes go unnoticed. Check out Unseen Tours, a multi-award winning social enterprise which offers unique walking tours of London led by homeless, formerly homeless, and vulnerably housed tour guides. Community leader Mahamed, their Brixton guide, will show you many things about your local area that you didn’t know about before. The B£ team went on a tour with him just before Christmas and we learned a lot! He’s an amazing guy, and literally everyone said hello to him in the street.

To book a Brixton tour, email walk@sockmobevents.org.uk or call 07514 266 774. Unseen also do tours of Brick Lane, Camden, Covent Garden, London Bridge, and Shoreditch – tell your friends!

4) Donate to local charities – in B£s

Did you know you can give B£s to Brixton charities? Brixton Pound supports a number of local charities and community groups who take donations via pay-by-text, so you can use your B£e balance to make a quick and easy donation to a cause you support. The charities can then use their B£s locally; for instance  Norwood and Brixton Foodbank regularly buys huge amounts of food with B£s from grocery shops like Faiz Foods. Another great community charity is the Brixton Soup Kitchen, a grassroots project helping homeless people by providing food, support and companionship, and aiming to empower Londoners in need in a warm and friendly environment. Aside from hot meals they offer CV workshops, job guidance, and advice on housing and benefits.

For a full list of supported organisations click here, or go straight to your pay-by-text account to make a donation.

5) Tell your bank to stop funding climate change

Is your bank heavily investing in oil, gas and coal extraction? These are socially and environmentally disastrous industries, and so effectively the big banks are driving irreversible climate change. Not in your name? You want to get involved in Move Your Money UK’s new campaign Divest! The campaign is asking you to take control of your savings and put your bank on notice. Divest! is giving the big banks 3 months – if they don’t clean up their act, Move Your Money can advise you where to move to support Good Money: where your savings will be contributing to a positive change in the world. Brixton Pound supports ethical banking, and so is backing the Divest! campaign. Take action now and put your bank on notice – “either you divest, or I will!”

6) Go vegan!

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The already very high vegan contingent of the B£ Team is getting a boost from one of us who’s doing Veganuary this year – good luck Tom! Going vegan, or at least reducing your meat and dairy consumption, makes a bigger environmental impact than giving up driving! It reduces carbon emissions and pollution, saves water, energy, and wildlife. It’s also super good for you. Have a go! If you’re very used to eating meat and dairy, try it part-time: limit the days on which you eat those products, and try to introduce more vegan recipes to your cooking. The Veganuary website has lots of resources for beginner vegans.

7) Fly less

Flying massively contributes to climate change, and instead of flying less, we are flying more and more – according to Wikipedia about 8.3 million people fly daily, which is twice as much as in 1999. When you’re planning your holiday or business travel this year, consider overland options!

 

Tell us what *you* are doing for a more sustainable 2015!