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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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!
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!