COMMENT: Brixton is a village and local businesses need to ensure they are not simply absent landlords

Written by on July 14, 2012 in Culture, Opinions, The Rest - 31 Comments

Lee Jasper, Chair of Brixton Splash, has posted a message to Brixton businesses – many of whom have failed to support the event in August – on his blog. 

UPDATE 20/7/12: Lee Jasper has now removed this post from his blog and apologised for it after the furore that followed on urban75 and on the comment boards here. You can read what he wrote below

“Brixton Splash Ltd is a non-profit company that supports economic development and employment opportunities for young people.

Brixton Splash 2012 celebrates London’s fantastic’s diversity and nowhere is that more evident that in Brixton itself.

Once infamous, Brixton is now famous as London’s most dynamic multicultural hotspot for food music and fashion. Forget London’s West End or Notting Hill: Brixton is now regarded as the best new place to shop, eat, drink and relax in the capital.

Although the notion of multiculturalism is under political attack from some quarters the reality of Brixton continues to befuddle those critics who have sought to portray multiculturalism as a weakness.

We reject that analysis and say walk through Brixton on a sunny day and hear languages from all round the world, smell food from almost every continent and island and dance to the world music.

Diversity can be a real strength and despite the premature declaration about the end of multiculturalism, the reality is that in an increasingly globalised world this is what the future of all major cities looks like.

This year we celebrate not only the London 2012 Olympics but also the 50th anniversary of Jamaican independence.  We will be rocking to major sound systems and our live music stage will contain some real surprises on the day.

Taking place on the same day as Brixton Splash 2012, the fastest man on earth Usain Bolt runs the 100 meters in the Olympic final. So all things being well this will be the biggest Jamaican Olympic gold medal winner’s party in London!

We have been very fortunate to secure partnerships with local and national employment agencies to ensure all our many volunteers who help deliver the Splash get access to some unique, good quality employment opportunities. With youth unemployment rising to incredibly high levels in Brixton this is an extremely important aspect of the festival.

This year we have a much more developed Arts/Craft village and children’s play area based in St Matthew’s Meeting Place. There will be lots of activities for families as well an opportunity to see some wonderful arts and craft stalls.

The food stalls will be many and varied providing a gastronomic kaleidoscope of tastes and smells from around the world. Such is the demand for these stalls that although we increased the overall number available this year they have all sold out.

We will be also holding a free pensioner’s party recreating a 1950’s Tea Party Dance at Lambeth Town Hall where we will honour those London pensioners of the Windrush generation on Saturday the 4th August. We have an unfortunate tendency to forget the huge and in many cases largely unrecognised contributions of our pioneer pensioners.

At the Electric formerly the Fridge we will be hosting the Brixton Splash 2012 After Party where we will be screening the race the whole world will be watching live. On stage will be the mighty Skatalite Rico & the Brixton Band, a host of DJs like the world famous Blackadread and Festus Coxsone playing revival music from the 1950s up to the present, a host of comedians and lots and I mean this, lots of special guests.

We will be hosting in partnership with the Voice Newspaper Brixton’s Black Cultural Archives and Brixton Library to present a wonderful photographic exhibition and public seminars that feature the themeJamaican Independence Jamaican Arrival.

We have received great support from companies like Jamaica National, Celebrating Jamaica 50th, Stay Bar, McDonalds, Lambeth Council, Arts Council, Electric and the Electric Social, Ritzy Cinema, The Market House and last but by no means least the Jamaican Government to mention just a few.

However whilst this has been fantastic I have to say locally we are more than disappointed at the response from some of the businesses in central Brixton.

This includes some big names such as KFC alongside new businesses that have recently opened up and some of the larger local businesses that have been in Brixton for some time.

Over the last four weeks we have distributed hundreds of local sponsorship packs that were hand delivered to most businesses in central Brixton.

We asked for two things to help support the festival. One was cash sponsorship: as a not-for-profit company and in the current climate we are trying to rebalance our financial model to make us less dependant on statutory funding.

Secondly we asked if they could consider finding a work placement or mentoring a young unemployed person. We offered to source and support these young people whilst receiving training. Operating outside the discredited Governments Work Programme we are actively and positively seeking new employment opportunities for local young people.

Most of the local hair and beauty shops on Atlantic Road simply refused to help in any way. I personally attended these businesses and one response was to offer me five pounds. One particular shop owner or manager and his staff were offensive, rude and dismissive in their response. I was quite shocked by this particular response.

I found this surprising when one considers their clientele: thousands of black women purchase their products daily from these businesses and yet they have simply refused to support an event from which the whole community benefits.

Many of the new restaurants and cafes in central Brixton have also simply refused to support the event. Most have, to date not even had the courtesy to acknowledge our appeal. Sam Marino Café refused, as did all of the businesses in the Village.

The same is true of some, not all, but certainly the majority of the major butchers and meat wholesalers and market stall holders all of whom rely on local shoppers.

There are some notable exceptions to this and we will be publishing a full list of those businesses that have sponsored Brixton Splash 2012 and those that did not.

There is much controversy and debate about the changing nature of Brixton. There are concerns that the African and Caribbean community is being slowly squeezed out by ever increasing rents inflated by increased demand. Many locals who campaigned and fought to ensure that the market became a world heritage listed site now see themselves priced out by increasing rents.

Unemployed young people are watching these restaurants selling food they cannot personally afford to people who come to Brixton precisely because of the multicultural nature of our wonderful village.

Brixton is a village therefore it is important that local businesses ensure that they are not simply doing business by taking the communities money and running.

Brixton Splash makes an enormous contribution to the local economy, giving local business a much needed boost at a time when the economy continues to decline.

Numbers in central Brixton increase by over 450% as thousands of people flock to Brixton to enjoy the festival. We have become an important part of the local economy and as such could have reasonably expected local businesses to respond positively to appeals for support.

The riots last year and the huge cuts to public spending means that local communities need more support from local businesses as the effects of the cuts and continuing recession continues to increase poverty and unemployment.

We are now only a few weeks away from what will be the biggest and best Splash ever. We are committed to ensuring that Brixton’s dynamic diversity is recognised and channeled into economic benefit and employment opportunities for local people.

Post event we will be exploring, with the community, how we can educate local communities and consumers in central Brixton on which businesses are good neighbours and citizens and those who have little regard for their custom.

We have three weeks to go and still hoping that more businesses will respond and I’m sure some will, however the issue of corporate social responsibility for big businesses and local engagement from small traders will be addressed through public discussion and debate.

London has the largest concentration of Jamaicans anywhere in the world outside of Jamaica and this year promises to be a great celebration of the Olympics and 50 years of Jamaican independence. The streets will team with people from all over the world who marvel at the way we here in the UK all get along.

That is the goose that laid the multicultural egg and the reason why Brixton is increasingly attractive to new businesses so we need to work together to ensure that we can promote all that’s best in Brixton and local business will need to improve their game working with organisations like Brixton Splash to ensure our continued success is enjoyed by all.”

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31 Comments on "COMMENT: Brixton is a village and local businesses need to ensure they are not simply absent landlords"

  1. eye doctor July 19, 2012 at 8:34 pm · Reply

    I might not agree with Lee Jaspers methodology but his analysis of the situation affecting the Black people living in central Brixton is SPOT ON.

    Obviously, in these times of cuts and austerity a man shouldn’t have the audacity to ask business’ that make ££££££’s out of the black shoppers to invest a few quid in a street party?!

    Unfortunately, for all those who are busy praising the ‘new’ Brixton…it’s very very very white and offers very little to the people who have lived in SW9 for years.

    So shoot the messenger …and ignore the message. I’d expect nothing less. Peace!

    • Worzel Gummidge July 19, 2012 at 9:44 pm · Reply

      Lee does not offer any “analysis” of the situation effecting black people in Brixton. A good starting point might be to look at the fact that despite millions of pound of Lottery funding, the Black Cultural Archives has yet to re-open. Or perhaps an investigation of the discriminatory employment practices operated by the Indian purveyors of chemically “enriched” “black hair products”, or even an analysis of the direct correlation between obesity in the black community and the abundance of deep fat fried chicken and chip shops, which blight Coldharbour Lane and the Railton Road? Perhaps, even, we could take a look at the thugs who sell drugs in Brixton, mug and rob? Course not, to close to home Bruv. Peace!

  2. Lee Jasper July 19, 2012 at 1:30 pm · Reply

    I have named a small number of local businesses that chose not to support Brixton Splash this year. This was not meant as a criticism and listening to feedback and general concerns we will not now be publishing a list of these business.

    I understand that many small businesses and medium sized businesses have many competing demands on their resources. Brixton has some great businesses all at the heart of the community. This has become more evident as a consequence of recent debate. To those businesses who have chosen not to support Brixton Splash, we would hope that they would consider supporting the sponsoring of other local events and organisations that deal with the mentoring young people seeking to get into employment and or considering starting their own business through the many such programmes working in central Brixton.

    Small businesses are a ital part of the local community and can stimulate growth and opportunities, and we urge everyone to support local traders as much as possible – especially, but not only, those who sponsor the Splash.

    How to encourage and support local business are engagement in supporting local community initiatives remains an issue that we intend to return to later in the year. Thank you and do come and enjoy this years Splash.

  3. Rushy July 19, 2012 at 12:35 pm · Reply

    It’s worth noting that Jo Birch-Phuare (a director of Splash) felt the need to post on Urban 75 gently distancing herself and the rest of the board from Lee’s rant published above. It would be great to see Brixton Blog update this post or balance it.

  4. John July 19, 2012 at 10:04 am · Reply

    The problem Mr Jasper is that you come across as bit of a self promoting wide boy.

    Now I don’t believe the rubbish I’ve read in the Evening Standard and I know what their nasty right wing agenda is. But I know you have been just as (albeit inadvertently ) effective as Tory rags like the Evening Standard in damaging progressive politics. Look at the mess and problems you helped create for Ken Livingstone! You and your mates were living the high life and the evidence of this was such that even Ken – who said he would trust you with his life – had no choice but to accept your resignation. You give the left a bad name.

    You keep chirruping about initiating a ‘’debate’’ but that debate is ongoing now and doesn’t need you to start it or even sustain it. People suffering from poverty under a Tory government don’t need Lee Jasper to lead them and initiate any debates while Lee Jasper gets even richer than he already is at the same time. You aren’t poor. You’re rich and you live somewhere safe and spacious and comfortable. You don’t have to worry about greedy landlords or paying bills.

    You are very anxious to conflate the plight of black people with your own career throwing around your favourite buzzword ‘’debate’’.

    You are quick to try and portray criticism of you and your tactics as being an attack on black London per se, but enough of us can see how dishonest that is.

    ‘’Debate’’ my arse.

    • Lee Jasper July 19, 2012 at 10:15 am · Reply

      Once again a troll like diversion from the issues in a vain attempt to resuscitate baseless accusation using cheap shot comments culminating in a deeply personal attack that reinforces my point about the political nature of some of these comments.

      • John July 19, 2012 at 10:42 am · Reply

        It isn’t a troll like diversion from the issues. Dear Lee.

        Your integrity IS a fundamental issue, Lee.

        Your time as an advisor to Ken was one of the most damaging episodes in Ken Livingstone’s career – and the timing could not have been worse.

        Your financially unexplained globetrotting round the world (Chicago, Jamaica, New York etc). your failure to declare – as required – on City Hall’s register of interests the free flights and hotels you received from a firm of US ‘diversity’ consultants and your saucy, unprofessional emails to Karen ‘honey glaze’ Chouhan the trustee of the 1990 Trust which at the time was receiving a grant of £100,000 from the Ken’s office very much calls into question your suitability to be initiating any ‘’debates’’ about how to solve poverty and discrimination in Brixton where you do not even live.

        Politically, Lee Jasper is largely to blame for Ken not getting a third term!

        Given your past form Lee, it is hardly a surprise that some businesses are reluctant to cough up money just because you say so and others have questions about what your real motivation is.

        ”Debate” Yeah riiiight1

      • Worzel Gummidge July 19, 2012 at 11:26 am · Reply

        Lee, is the following the sort of ‘baseless accusations you refer to?

        You may remember the self-proclaimed “General” Lee Jasper – he was the £127K-a-year Ken Livingstone race adviser who resigned in disgrace after giving £100,000 of public money to an organisation run by a woman he wanted to “honey glaze.” Well – he’s baaa-ck!
        On Monday, according to emails sent out by the organisers, Mr Jasper will speak at a City Hall event on “Power and influence: London’s criminal justice and community safety strategy.” It’s billed as enabling “community and voluntary sector organisations” to “find out what Boris Johnson has in store in terms of a community safety strategy” and to learn how to “influence…projects and funding.” Some things never change, eh?
        Jasper has for the last year been attempting political reincarnation on the basis of more or less bare-faced lies. He keeps claiming to have been “cleared” by various investigations into the “cronyism” scandals of 2007-8, when large amounts of GLA money vanished without visible effect into various “community organisations” run by his friends and business associates, including Mrs Honey-Glaze.
        This claim comes despite the best efforts of all the investigating authorities to disabuse him (the District Auditor, for instance, said in July that Jasper’s behaviour was “inappropriate” and below “the standards expected” of a GLA officer, and his main report into the most serious allegations is still to come.)
        My old newspaper, the Standard, had a hilarious exchange of correspondence with the General last year after we disobligingly pointed out that several of his cronies remain under police investigation, with criminal charges recommended (nobody, by the way, has ever accused Jasper himself of anything criminal).
        Lest you think that Boris has lost his mind allowing Jasper past reception, it does seem that he has been rather smuggled in; he’s appearing not at an official GLA function, but at a conference organised by something called CSAS, part of a body known as the London Action Trust. There will, however, be a “GLA community safety official” at the gathering – possibly Jasper’s mate Ron Belgrave, who still works at City Hall.
        The London Action Trust is interesting, too. In another echo of the Livingstone golden era, it too is a rather obscure community organisation providing such activities as “capacity building”. It too is based in Jasper’s manor, Lambeth – just round the corner from his house, actually. It too has had rather a lot of public money from the GLA (including a few quid after Boris took over) and it too seems to suffer from more than the odd disappearing pound.
        Looking at its accounts, I can’t help noticing that the London Action Trust has over the last four years lost more than £200,000 in a commercial subsidiary, Essential Consulting (UK) Ltd, most of which appears to have gone on rather heavy salaries and administrative expenses. EC has now been “mothballed”. Looking at Essential Consulting’s accounts (behind a Companies House paywall), it’s not quite clear what it actually did.
        And there’s one more parallel. The London Action Trust and Essential Consulting (UK) Ltd have high-level political connections. One of the directors of both organisations is the former Tory mayoral candidate, and current member of the TfL board, Steve Norris.
        Now just to be clear, I have seen no evidence of foul play – the London Action Trust lists what looks like some perfectly respectable activities. But wouldn’t it be wise for them to dissociate themselves from someone with Lee Jasper’s track record? And from City Hall’s point of view, allowing Mr Jasper anywhere near the GLA grants programme has to be a bad idea. Come Monday, perhaps Boris should call security.

        • Lee Jasper July 19, 2012 at 1:41 pm · Reply

          London Action Trust Patron is Boris Johnson its Chair was Steve Norris and Ray Lewis Boris’s right hand man sat on the board. The organisation went bankrupt despite its high level political patronage and bizarrely after after Boris awarded them a multi million pound mentoring contract designed to recruit 1000 mentors for black boys a contract which he has failed to deliver. Usual standard of journalism from an ex Standard reporter. Shoddy…

  5. John July 18, 2012 at 3:26 pm · Reply

    Hey Lee, will there be any poetry at the Brixton Splash?

    It is such a great medium to celebrate diversity and multiculturalism and I know you’ve penned the odd thoughtful verse yourself in the past.

    “I want to whisk you away to a deserted island beach,
    Honey glaze you, let you cook slowly before,
    a torrid and passionate embrace.”

    Oh Brixton Splssh, how many ways do I love thee?
    As much as Brazil national football team or
    aki and saltfish.
    I love thee feet, ankles, legs, thighs, bum and belly,
    arms, head and brain.
    But most of all I love you in a flaming red sari,
    bangles chains or
    failing that in a bikini!”

    Wonderful stuff, it makes one quite emotional!

    • Worzel Gummidge July 18, 2012 at 8:09 pm · Reply

      Till mother Nature ends,
      I’ll be Worzel,
      To ‘me friends,
      And just like John and Sue,
      you must Speak my language too.
      Not yakkety if you please,
      you must speak in Worzelese.
      ……..
      You put a Wor after W,
      and a Wor after O,
      a Wor after R,
      and it’s away we go.
      You put a Wor after Z,
      a Wor after E,
      a Wor after L,
      A zel after Wor,
      and you’re left…..With me!

  6. Rushy July 18, 2012 at 2:51 pm · Reply

    I’m a bit disappointed to see Brixton Blog give such publicity to Lee Jasper’s article without any counter argument or analysis. He claims to want to open a debate and in the same breath starts naming and shaming established businesses he thinks should be boycotted on the basis that they didn’t have the courtesy to reply to his poorly written mail shot asking for money for a party – which several say they never received.

    His materials are poorly written and aims are entirely unclear. The blog in which he calls for boycotting of local businesses claims Brixton Splash’s aim is to support economic development and employment and that businesses are willfuly shunning this. Not only should they be free to shun it, but these aims are not outlined anywhere on the Splash website which describes itself as a free community festival celebrating diversity, peaceful relations and culture. Even the sponsorship page merely asks for cash in return for branding – or to suggest something else if anyone has any ideas. The only employment opportunities offered by Splash are for unpaid volunteers to gain experience in stewarding, i.e. free labour.

    I support the idea of Splash and its original stated purposes of celebration. Unfortunately on U75 Mr Jasper appears to confuse public support for Splash “the party” with public support for him personally and his views. It is sad to see this event being hijacked by such a divisive, chippy, confrontational and egotistical individual who desperately wants to repair his battered ego after his impressive fall from grace.

    And frankly, we don’t need someone in Brixton who is still prepared to cry ‘racist’ every time someone questions or disagrees with him (which he did again true to form yesterday on U75).

    I would love to see locally minded businesses commit to contribute funds towards Splash 2013 on the express condition that Mr Jasper has no association with it. Let’s have someone aspirational chair Splash next year before it is destroyed by this divisive narcissist.

    • DaleyMale July 18, 2012 at 8:00 pm · Reply

      Very well put.

      • Lee Jasper July 19, 2012 at 9:27 am · Reply

        This is a debate that will continue long after this years Splash. Increasingly customers want to make informed choices about where and with whom they spend their money. This is entirely right and reflects the increasing extent to which consumers are seeking make choices on the ethical practices and levels of social engagement of the businesses they patronise.

        The sponsorship pack was hand delivered to the vast majority of business in the area and that is not on doubt. Each year the Splash gets better and the board has worked incredibly hard to ensure that continuous improvement.

        The aims of the Splash are broad are encompass a broad range of employment and entrepreneurial activities. We have massive youth unemployment particularly among black youth we need to encourage and support more of the local community to consider starting up their own business. We have serious issues with youth violence and post the August 2011 disturbances relations with the police remained strained.

        We endure rising levels of unemployment that disproportionately impacts local black young people and women. We also have increasing number of elderly living in alone in poverty and isolation.

        Homelessness is a huge problem in addition to a significant and I fear growing mental health crisis all of which is seriously exacerbated by huge cuts to public sector spending. We believe its is critical that business respond in partnership with local groups working to tackle these issues whether that’s with Brixton Splash or any of the many other organisations seeking to work on these issues.

        We expressed our disappointment at the level of engagement of some businesses certainly not all. We have had some great support. As for the support the board enjoys from the local community that continues to grow year on year.

        We note the disgraceful and deeply personal comments, it’s frankly disappointing to see such comments here, some of which are clearly politically motivated. Personal attacks such as the ones from Rushy add nothing to the debate about the issues raised and appear beyond the pail.

        Never the less we will initiate the public debate later in the year and I suggest that those who doubt that this is an issue of concern in local communities should attend those debates where they can hear first hand from their customers.

        I find some of the silly accusations and personal comments of minority contributors, stereotypical and loaded with assumptions. If the entire threads are read that becomes apparent. I felt that one in particular on the U75 was indeed informed by a crude racial stereotype.

        We have captured these comments so the local community can judge for themselves their tone and tenor . I think most people will be shocked. A significant section of the local community who form part of our core constituency are not on line so a public debate is an important aspect of further discussion.

        The issues facing Brixton are legion we have the potential to work together to ensure Brixton’s success is both inclusive and socially responsible. I have spoken to some local traders they are equally concerned about the issues raised here and are supportive of the push for greater accountability and transparency.

        There are a range of community organisations who have expressed similar frustrations is seeking support from local business and are keen to join the debate.

        There a business that want to do more and need more reassurance or clarity about what they are being asked to support and how best they can help.

        Finally there is the wider customer constituency that’s is keen to see greater business involvement in partnership with a broad range of community organisation and partnership seeking to address the complex issues that face local communities. Maybe a public attitude survey at Splash on these issues may help inform the debate.

        • Rushy July 20, 2012 at 9:33 am · Reply

          It’s a shame Lee Jasper has to pull up the race card every time he he is contradicted. And the personal attack card. It does neither him nor the causes he champions any favours.

          Anyway – the Splash directors have disassociated themselves personally from his comments and he has seen fit to withdraw them and his offending blog. I welcome this and hope that he withdrew them voluntarily rather than under pressure from unimpressed colleagues.

  7. DaleyMale July 17, 2012 at 9:31 pm · Reply

    “Post event we will be exploring, with the community, how we can educate local communities and consumers in central Brixton on which businesses are good neighbours and citizens and those who have little regard for their custom.”

    Well done Mr Jasper!

    May i suggest that the bad neighbours and citizens have some sort of marking sewn to their clothes or painted on their windows?

    • HeartBrixton July 17, 2012 at 11:04 pm · Reply

      No need DM. We have the list.

  8. Lee Jasper July 17, 2012 at 3:35 pm · Reply

    heartbrixton your being hysterical we said we would publish a list thats it and further we said we will have a debate on the issue.

    • heartBrixton July 17, 2012 at 4:09 pm · Reply

      So tarnish reputations first, then attempt to seek the truth second??? Will you be issuing apologies to the businesses that you have unfairly “shamed” for not conforming to your definition of what engagement with the community means? Of course, the damage will already be done by then.

  9. heartBrixton July 17, 2012 at 11:25 am · Reply

    So if a local business has the affrontary or sheer audacity NOT to sponsor your once a year event, they should be held up as being some kind of pariahs of the community??? Do you know for a fact that they are not contributing to the community in other ways? Can they afford to do so? Who do you think you are? Disgraceful bullying tactics!

  10. Lee Jasper July 17, 2012 at 8:46 am · Reply

    Business are named and shamed where they fail to pay tax or use products that are unethically sourced or where animal welfare is compromised that is an accepted part of the consumer business debate. Why not on the issue of community engagement?

    • Paul Lister July 17, 2012 at 2:32 pm · Reply

      For one reason doing this only focuses on one event – Splash. How do you know that these businesses are not engaged in the community in other ways? How do you define community engagement? (surely its not just getting involved with Splash). The larger reason is that its not the place of a fantastic community festival to engage in calling out local businesses who have chosen not to support them. Celebrate the ones who have, demonstrate its value , make friends and hope they might be supporters in the future.

  11. Paul Lister July 17, 2012 at 7:09 am · Reply

    ‘There are some notable exceptions to this and we will be publishing a full list of those businesses that have sponsored Brixton Splash 2012 and those that did not.’

    Publishing a list of those who did not support you is appalling. You don’t endear your self to these hard working people, or anyone else from Brixton, by naming and ‘shaming’ them. Fundraising is a difficult and delicate business where most of the time you have to accept rejection and build relationships for the future. If the trustees of Splash have read this I hope they will take some action to stop this happening.

  12. Dan July 16, 2012 at 1:21 pm · Reply

    Oh Lee, what a PR fail you have commited…

  13. Lee Jasper July 16, 2012 at 12:34 pm · Reply

    Amended

    It is important to say that we have had a good level of local business support and I am pleased to say more are expressing an interest and coming on board. But it could and should be better.

    Our particular local difficulty relates not to our overall approach or offer, as I explain below. This reluctance reflects the general disinclination of some businesses to support community groups. The reality is some of Brixton’s business have never or sponsored or supported local community organisations and that needs to change .

    This is critically important particularly at time of austerity cuts where business need to reassess their added value in an increasingly competitive market and the extent to which they are seen to be embedded and supportive in the wider local community of Brixton.

    Brixton Splash intends to spark that debate by simply educating local consumers and promoting those business that demonstrate their commitment to local community initiatives not just in regards to Splash but their charitable work across the board.

    In the autumn we will be holding public debate about these issues in order to raise general awareness about the potential for local business to help address working in partnership with the many local community groups and charities seeking to tackle the burgeoning social and economic issues facing communities in Lambeth.

    Yes business are struggling which is why we are proud that Brixton Splash brings so much additional income to local businesses . However it is to be remembered that customers and their families with some of the highest levels of unemployment and deprivation are also struggling.

    Another important point is that Brixton Splash not only asked business to consider financial support. We also requested alternative help in kind for those business who were unable to support by way of sponsorsphip. In particular we asked for support for young people seeking local employment, secondment or mentor opportunities for unemployed young people wanting to start a business. This gave maximum flexibility to small business to think creatively about their contribution in kind which is often more valuable than a cash sponsor in the longer term.

    In any event common courtesy suggests that when a businesses receives such a request that they at least respond whatever their decision.

    We think it is increasingly important that the local community can make informed choices about where and with whom they choose to spend their money . Shopper are increasing sophisticated and now consider factors such as ethical sourcing of goods and environmental issues when making choices. Social responsibility of local business is a legitimate concern and one that will become increasingly important for customers.

    The point here is that we believe that all business could contribute something, in whatever way best suits them, toward tackling the serious social problems that are becoming acute in areas like Brixton. That is not the case currently with some business and we believe that has to change if we are to promote the development of cohesive communities and thriving local economies.

  14. Jonne July 16, 2012 at 11:43 am · Reply

    I think Jasper somewhat ignores what impact the new businesses moving into Brixton have had on the area. Before they arrived, dare I say it, but the ‘Brixton Community’, had pretty much left Granville Arcade (yes – I still it call it by its true name) to fall into a dire state to the extent it was on the brink of being demolished.

    Then the ‘new businesses’ came. I can imagine they put a lot a heart of soul, not to mention their own money, into dragging the market back to the cultural icon it is now.

    Over the last few years, indeed even just walking through today, I’ve seen the hours of work people put in to make their business work. I know that many of the bakers in the Arcade get up at ridiculous hours to ensure bread / cakes etc are made fresh every day.

    There were plenty of empty shops in the Arcade. Anyone in Brixton could have had a successful business in the Arcade to the ones existing now. The new businesses didn’t drive anyone out to argue otherwise seems factual wrong.

    In little over 2 years, through their efforts, they have brought many jobs and much need economic stimulus to area – surely a point that should be championed particularly in the backdrop of the failing economy.

    It seems a little … disproportionate, that just because the businesses have not supported Brixton Splash, to label them as not having contributed or engaged the local community. A particularly successful joint seems to have permanent sign up looking for chefs and waiting staff! Koasarn is also expanding, potentially bringing even more jobs to South London.

    In contrast from what I have seen in the years I have lived in Brixton – Brixton splash generates interest for maybe a few weeks a year … but the businesses in and amongst Arcade and Market Row in particular, have provided jobs all year round.

    I applaud the will of Brixton Splash, but as an outsider to the whole businesses vs Splash thing, I think the new businesses have done far more Brixton than a yearly street party will ever do.

    The new businesses should be held as an example of what hard work can bring young people – and perhaps a template of what else could be done in Brixton. Surely, they have earned their success through hard work and have done and will continue to their bit for the community if allowed to grow.

    We should not give the impression to youngsters that they can let someone else do the work, and then ask for charity playing the guilt trip card aggressively.

    • Betiel Mehari July 17, 2012 at 12:17 am · Reply

      I am local who lived in Brixton for 7 years while some of changes are great for Brixton as it brought people who would not come to Brixton to socialise and made it from infamous to famous .Yes it fantastic for the visitors .However for the local it made small if zero changes to their life as they cant afford to eat in those restaurant or even live in the area any more. suddenly building that were forgotten and left to rot are being put back to life e,g Costa ,Guinness trust in somerlyton are demolishing and building flats for sale.Do think the working class will be able to afford it or do really believe this is for the benefit locals.Some will stay and struggle with the rent other I am sure will be relocate another not so trendy place
      where do you get your information from that shows they have done more for Brixton? Is it facts or assumptions .I understand about hard work as i WORK full time in office and have small business part time so they do deserve the success but to dismiss the idea that Brixton Splash tried to get those LOCAL young people work experience and those business have refused as not important you are contradicting your self .

      How is they are doing so much for community when it cant offer work experience .If you know the history of Brixton Village than you know ,it was build on networking which is usually done events and parties

      Yes you absolutely right to say we the local could have used the space in Brixton village and made a successful but you over simplifying the issue as majority of us (locals) do not have the money or the connections .There were locals who were involved when space maker came to the village and offered free space but where are they now.Maybe they did not work hard enough.

      This is in response to JONNE

  15. Lee Jasper July 16, 2012 at 8:18 am · Reply

    Urbanspaceman

    The general culture of private sector engagement with community organisations is poor through the UK. Our difficulty relates not to our approach the reality is some Brixton’s business have rarely of ever sponsored local community organisations. That culture need to change its important that at time of austerity cuts that business reassess the extent to which they are embedded in the local community of Brixton. Brixton Splash intend to spark that debate by simply educating local consumers about those business that demonstrate their commitment to local community initiatives . In the autumn we will be holding public debate about these issues in order to raise general awareness about the potential for local business to help address in partnership the many burgeoning issues facing communities in Lambeth.

    Your comment seems to wilfully miss the point that Brixton Splash while we asked for financial support we also asked for help in kind in particular support for local employment, secondments or mentor opportunities for unemployed young people. We think its important that the local community can make informed choices about where they choose to spend their money as they do when considering ethical sourcing of goods or environmental l concerns. Social responsibility of local business is a legitimate concern

    The point here is that we believe that all business could contribute something toward tackling the serious social problems that are becoming acute in areas like Brixton. That is not the case currently and that has to change if we are to promote the development of cohesive communities and thriving local economies.

    That surely is a goal we all share.

  16. Urbanspaceman July 15, 2012 at 12:20 pm · Reply

    If so many businesses, of such different shapes and sizes, don’t want to give Jasper money, surely we should entertain the possibility that Jasper is just doing it wrong ?

    His Brixton Splash is a (not-for-profit) company, and not a registered charity. But Jasper is miffed when local businesses make a commercial decision not to hand over cash to his company in return for some marketing support. Perhaps he got the pricing wrong.

    Generally businesses don’t publicly name-and-shame people who decline to buy from them, as Jasper has here. It’s quite bizarre and self-defeating behaviour; Jasper seems to be bent on damaging his own standing within Brixton’s business community.

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