The Brixton Pound would like your input - especially if you don't use it!

Discussion in 'Brixton' started by simonautomatic, Nov 5, 2012.

  1. simonautomatic

    simonautomatic B£ magnate

    Hi all,

    This forum isn't exactly known as a hotbed of support for the B£ - but that's good on this occasion, as we're seeking constructive feedback from as many community members as possible - and we'd like to hear from you whether you love or hate the scheme.

    We've notched up some considerable achievements over the last three years - there are now over 230 businesses who are part of the scheme, around B£100,000 in circulation, 800+ registered members who use the UK's first text-message based currency (B£ Pay-by-text) and over B£5,000 being traded every month. Electronic B£ balances can now be used by businesses to pay their business rates (a first of its kind in the UK) and - as of a few weeks ago - Lambeth staff can sign up to receive part of their salary in B£e. And yes, they *are* signing up and November will see the first B£e "pay packets". All of this is designed to entice more people out of the high street chain stores and into our local, independent outlets, helping more money and wealth to stay local - benefiting our community.

    We're currently writing a three year strategic plan for 2013-2016, and we really want this to be a blueprint for what Brixton's community needs - economically that is. We can't write it effectively without substantial input from the community, hence we've been holding a range of consultations, strategic planning sessions and surveys of our business and member communities.

    Good Innovation are going to be running a series of small focus groups over the next few weeks, to see how the B£ might need to change or extend what we're doing and how we can effectively communicate it to the widest possible audience in Brixton. We're looking for opinionated, outgoing and articulate people. It doesn't matter whether you love or hate the scheme, or are just on the fence - and you don't need to have used the scheme at all. We need as many viewpoints represented as possible. Our only criteria is that you live in Brixton, and have an evening free at some point before Christmas. We may even be able to reward you (in B£ of course) - that's TBC though.

    If you'd be willing to participate, please email me and let me know the following:

    a) If you have ever used paper or electronic B£
    b) if you regularly use either
    c) If you know about the scheme but have not engaged with it yet
    d) If you know about the scheme but actively choose not to engage with it
    e) roughly what your availability is like over the next few weeks

    Many thanks,

    Simon (on behalf of the whole B£ team)
  2. Firky

    Firky The first of the gang Banned

    *sets up deck chair*
    Gramsci likes this.
  3. Greebo

    Greebo 'scuse me, Mrs May, can I have my country back? R.I.P.

    *opens popcorn stand*
    Gramsci likes this.
  4. Onket

    Onket Je suis [CONTENT REMOVED]

    firky likes this.
  5. editor

    editor Taffus Maximus

    Hi Simon - thanks for coming onboard and asking for some opinions. Good on ya'!

    Maybe my own experiences can get the discussion started:

    I've used the Brixton pound a bit, but seeing as I almost exclusively work, eat , drink and shop in Brixton and whenever possible, shop in local markets and spend my money with local businesses, I sort of get the feeling that I'm not really the target audience.

    I know the idea of the currency is to encourage people to shop local and use local products and services but I'm kind of there already. In fact, I feel that if I start taking advantage of some of the discounts that the Brixton £ offers, I'd be actively giving the shopkeepers less cash.

    Or am I missing something?
    Gramsci likes this.
  6. free spirit

    free spirit more tea vicar?

    I'm not in brixton or anywhere close, but any scheme that after this length of time can only boast £5k a month of turnover is quite obviously a hopeless failure, and a total waste of everybodies time and effort in supporting the scheme.

    that's just £20 turnover per registered business per month - this is an abject failure in anyone's book.

    Seriously there must be hundreds of more cost and energy effective ways of boosting the local economy in brixton, so my unbiased outsider viewpoint as someone who supports the general aims of transition towns, is that you should end this experiment as swiftly as you can, and move on to something a lot more effective.
  7. editor

    editor Taffus Maximus

    Sounds a tad harsh to me. I'd say the Brixton £ has generated significant publicity and that may or may not result in more spending overall (I suspect it has).

    Personally, I rather like having our own currency. What would your alternatives be?
  8. simonautomatic

    simonautomatic B£ magnate

    Just to be clear, we're not really looking for feedback in this thread (sorry if I didn't make that clear in my post) - we're looking for people to come and engage with us in the flesh. If you're up for that, please get in touch.
  9. editor

    editor Taffus Maximus

    Do you not think that you may get more people to engage if they had a better understanding of what the Brixton £ was all about?
    muscovyduck and Greebo like this.
  10. Boudicca

    Boudicca Seaside Queen

    I can't see the point to be honest. It's cumbersome to operate and probably only used by Brixton loyalists who would be shopping there anyway. So there is a case to be made that the more successful it is, the less money the local traders make.

    As free spirit says, there are better ways to support local traders. For instance, an online directory of shops with 'deals' which benefit buyers and sellers.

    Oh yes and my definition of local shops is wider than just Brixton.
    muscovyduck and Greebo like this.
  11. Boudicca

    Boudicca Seaside Queen

    You are probably going to get it anyway....
    muscovyduck likes this.
  12. simonautomatic

    simonautomatic B£ magnate

    We're particularly looking for people who don't know that much about the scheme and/or have not engaged with it to any extent - so actually it's a bonus *not* to understand it particularly well! The focus group will include an introduction.
  13. free spirit

    free spirit more tea vicar?

    ah, well yes, if you're counting the impact of publicity from the scheme, then yes that does change things a bit, as it's certainly generated a lot of PR.

    Personally I prefer a scheme to actually deliver on it's objective via the actual functioning of the scheme, rather than relying entirely on the impact of positive PR that the scheme might generate. This can soon turn into negative publicity if anyone bothered to look at the figures and see how ridiculous the entire thing is... or worse, if the scheme actually went completely belly up and took the local credit union down with it, which has to be a risk unless they've backed the scheme via a 100% reserve of real pounds and not touched any of it for their running costs (as I hope is the case).

    £60k a year of local turnover (most of which would probably have happened anyway) seems a pretty poor return for £30k of funding in 2010-11 that I could be bothered to find.

    This may seem harsh, but this was always pitched as being an experiment, and in my book experiments need to actually be evaluated to determine if they've proven or disproven the theory. The numbers here seem to speak for themselves on that score, and IMO they really ought to be reviewing this and spreading those sorts of lessons through the transition towns network so other groups can learn from it, instead of ploughing on regardless as they seem to be doing.
    dessiato and Gramsci like this.
  14. free spirit

    free spirit more tea vicar?

    that doesn't sound too clever.
    Gramsci likes this.
  15. editor

    editor Taffus Maximus

    I can see that but I suspect you're going to find it very hard to get people willing to engage enough for them to give up their time to talk about it. But I do wish you good luck with it!
  16. Brixton Hatter

    Brixton Hatter Home is south London mate

    Very much the same with me - I avoid all the supermarkets and chain stores and almost always use the market & independent traders. I was one of the first 100 people to sign up and change my money into B£ but in the end it didn't really seem to make any difference (to me personally) as I was already shopping locally. A few points that might be helpful:

    - Not enough people know about the text/electronic form of B£. This is potentially very useful. I should probably use it myself, but I haven't really got round to it yet. It seems a massive step forward from the paper money.

    - Encouraging traders to give it in change (as Onket suggested above) would increase awareness and usage.

    - There's a MASSIVE potential bunch of new customers for B£ in the well-off young people who are coming to live in the Brixton area, but who do all their shopping in Tesco or Sainsburys. It doesn't appear that this has been exploited enough yet.

    - There's also a massive potential bunch of new customers in the weekend tourists who come to Brixton Village etc for food. Encouraging these people to spend more widely in independent Brixton businesses (i.e. outside the village) could be really beneficial.

    - It would be great to get some form of permanent advertising for the Brixton Pound so that visitors can be aware of it - e.g. hoardings in the tube station or whatever.

    Simon - Don't get put off by the scepticism on here. I think it's a good scheme and has the potential to grow, if done in the right way. People don't like change, especially if the results can't be seen instantly. For many of us on here and in Brixton generally, it's our raison d'être to moan about the supermarkets and chain stores etc - the Brixton Pound is a good way of starting to try to push the balance back in our favour, but clearly it needs more people to be involved and using it.

    Good luck with the consultation.

    email sent :)
  17. Onket

    Onket Je suis [CONTENT REMOVED]

    Across the bridge, maybe.

    That 'B Our Guest' sign has had it's day.
    Brixton Hatter likes this.
  18. TruXta

    TruXta tired

    Just to nitpick a bit - if you say you only want articulate, opinionated and outgoing people you're gonna miss out on at least half your target population. Seek out the quiet ones, the ones that don't put themselves forward. This is of course harder and more time-consuming, but believe me your data will be many times better if you do put the effort in. This is speaking as a researcher.
    Idaho, muscovyduck, Gramsci and 3 others like this.
  19. Brixton Hatter

    Brixton Hatter Home is south London mate

    Yep, I was thinking the very same thing. I quite liked the old "Welcome to Brixton" on that bridge. We could have "Welcome to Brixton - home of the Brixton Pound" on the bridge and thousands of people would see it every day.
    Onket likes this.
  20. Badgers

    Badgers Mr Big Shrimp!

    Good post BH ^

    I have to admit to not getting any BPs yet but keep meaning to get the text/electronic so have just registered.
    simonautomatic likes this.
  21. Brixton Hatter

    Brixton Hatter Home is south London mate

    Cheers. Yes, I am going to register today for the electronic B£ as well. No time like the present.....
  22. Badgers

    Badgers Mr Big Shrimp!

    I have done it...
    Brixton Hatter likes this.
  23. Brixton Hatter

    Brixton Hatter Home is south London mate

    Yep me too....took about 5 mins to set up and transfer some cash :)

    I put £50 in, so I get B£55 to spend.
    simonautomatic likes this.
  24. Badgers

    Badgers Mr Big Shrimp!

    Where shall we go then?


    Kaff Bar?
    The White Horse?
    Satay Bar?
  25. Brixton Hatter

    Brixton Hatter Home is south London mate

    ha, there's a pub/bar crawl there, followed by some grub, and then a hangover-sorting breakfast in the Phoenix the next day :)
    simonautomatic and Badgers like this.
  26. Badgers

    Badgers Mr Big Shrimp!

    I notice the Hero of Switzerland is not accepting it :mad:
  27. Brixton Hatter

    Brixton Hatter Home is south London mate

    We'll work on them.

    Lots of pubs take the notes - e.g. Whitehorse, Hootahob etc. Does the Albert take the notes?
  28. Badgers

    Badgers Mr Big Shrimp!

    Sadly The Albert does not. I think that is a brewery decision :hmm:
  29. Davidoff

    Davidoff Member

    I use the text thing for the deal at the breadroom where you get every second hot drink free. It makes yr exit a bit awkward tho, where you have to do the 'i just text you some money and now i'm leaving' hand signal.
    firky likes this.
  30. Winot

    Winot I wholeheartedley agree with your viewpoint

    I usually show 'em my phone so they can see the confirmation text.

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