Saturday, 2 April 2016

OUGD505 - Brief 01 - Research/Inspiration - The Brixton Pound

The Brixton Pound (B£) is a local currency, community lottery, grassroots funder and now a high street shop. Showcasing what a social economy can be like in Brixton, London. A better high street is possible!
The Brixton Pound (B£) is money that sticks to Brixton. It’s designed to support Brixton businesses and encourage local trade and production. It’s a complementary currency, working alongside (not replacing) pounds sterling, for use by independent local shops and traders. The B£ gives local traders and customers the chance to get together to support each other and maintain the diversity of the high street and strengthen pride in Brixton.
It was launched in September 2009 as a physical paper-based currency and was followed in September 2011 by the launch of the electronic B£ pay-by-text platform. Around 250 businesses currently accept paper B£ and around 200 have pay-by-text accounts.
The B£ encourages people to think about where their money is going and commit to spending a proportion of it locally. On the environmental front, the B£ supports local businesses in sourcing more goods and services locally, reducing their carbon footprint.
The B£ makes money work for Brixton by supporting smaller shops and traders who are under threat from the recession and larger chains. It stays in Brixton and circulates, increasing local trade and community connections. Money spent with independent businesses circulates within the local economy up to three times longer than when it’s spent with national chains, research by the New Economics Foundation has shown.

Why Brixton?

·         A famous local economy with a diverse high street and local market
·         A strong community spirit and rich mix of culture and backgrounds
·         A history of revolution, activism, change, dynamic people, and attracting the avant-garde

The Brixton Pound Misson:
·         Help protect jobs and livelihoods of community members within Brixton through developing a strong local economy
·         Support and build diversity and resilience in the local Brixton economy in light of difficult economic times and chain store power
·         Raise community awareness of the local Brixton economy
·         Encourage and facilitate a self help model and ethos in order to protect the social and financial futures of the residents of Brixton
·         Encourage local sourcing of goods to decrease CO2 emissions
·         Raise Brixton’s profile regionally and nationally and contribute to positive perceptions of Brixton by drawing attention to its strong community, diverse economy and capacity for innovation

This innovative concept really caught my imagination, because it has really ethical intentions, something I don't usually associate with money.  Each design created for this project is inspired by a local hero or aspect of Brixton that has been significant in its cultural, social, political make up. This is a nice touch, making the notes authentic and entirely location specific. 

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