Pop Brixton

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is behind Pop Brixton?

Pop Brixton is managed by a company called Make Shift, a team of designers, entrepreneurs and architects; who are taking a new approach to way we use space in cities.

Pop Brixton was the first Make Shift project, and the team who created it are now working on new projects with similar values and objectives. The next Make Shift project will be Peckham Levels, a site that will create more than 90,000 sq ft of creative workspace and community facilities in a disused carpark in Peckham.

Pop Brixton has been delivered in partnership between Make Shift and Lambeth Council.

The design for Pop Brixton was developed by Carl Turner Architects, and Carl Turner is a founding director of Make Shift.

Property company The Collective provided the majority of the investment required to bring the project to life, as well as guidance and support on its construction and ongoing management.

How did the project start?

The idea for Pop Brixton was born when Lambeth Council asked the community to propose ideas for the use of a disused plot of land near the centre of Brixton.

Local architect Carl Turner worked on a proposal that imagined a new community space, built with recycled shipping containers and reclaimed materials, that could support small business from the local area.

Lambeth Council saw the potential in the project, and it was given the go ahead in November 2014.

Carl Turner sold his family home to seed fund the project, then partnered with property company The Collective, who invested the remaining money needed to create the site.

After 6 months of construction, the project opened its doors on the 29th of May 2015.

Pop Brixton has always been planned as a temporary project. The initial lease was offered until October 2017. This has now been extended to October 2018.

How do you define 'local' members?

We prioritise membership applicaitons from local people, as we believe that supporting those who already live and work in the community is the best way to create a positive impact.

To determine locality we consider whether both the applicant's home address, and the registered address of their business. Those who live in Brixton recieve the highest score, those who live in Lambeth are also prioritise.

We classify 70% of our members as local, as they live or previously ran their business in the borough of Lambeth.

What is Lambeth Council's Involvement?

Lambeth Council kick-started the project, running a competition to submit ideas on what to
do with a plot of disused land that now forms the site of Pop Brixton.

Lambeth Council has also provided the land for the project, until at least October 2017, free
of charge. This is subject to the project delivering local benefits to the community.

Lambeth Council chairs the steering group that oversees the project.

Lambeth Council bore the cost of the various planning application fees, around £5k, plus
initial marketing costs, such as the launch event back in the summer of 2014, again around
£5k.

As noted, the Council will share 50/50 in any profit with Pop Brixton and the project’s
finances are checked by a council accountant

How many jobs has Pop Brixton created?

Pop Brixton has created more than 200 jobs in the local area, and currently supports 405 jobs on the site.

Will Pop Brixton's pay the London Living Wage?

Pop Brixton pays its staff London Living Wage.

Member businesses are also strongly encouraged to pay London Living Wage, and 84% of the our current members do so.

What makes it special?

Tenants have been selected based not only on the quality of their business plan, but also to maximise benefit to the local community.

The site provides over 50 units specifically designed for small businesses, around a central meeting place, square and horticultural area.

Each tenant has to volunteer a minimum of four hours a month to the Pop time bank to support the local community.

A training, workshop and events space will be provided and as well as being available for hire, will be accessible to local people and organisations for free, based on an application and community giveback.

The site also includes ten affordable units, including retail, office and workspace, with rents 50-80% less than commercial levels on the site.

How does Pop Brixton select its members?

The purpose of Pop Brixton is to provide affordable commercial space in a beneficial trading environment, to socially minded, independent businesses making a positive impact in their local community.

The site is now home to 53 small businesses working in retail, food, social enterprise, light manufacturing, the arts and the creative industries.

Members are selected based on a transparent selection criteria that scores them for:

- Quality of Business Plan

- Locality to the project

- Alignment to the project's ethos of supporting the local community

- Commitment to participate in the Community Investment Scheme

Final selection also depends on curating a community of members that compliment each other and do not result in internal competition.

What happens to the profit Pop Brixton makes?

Any profit from the project will be split 50/50 between the Lambeth Council and Make Shift Ltd.

How does Pop Brixton support the local economy?

Pop Brixton now supports a community of 53 independent businesses, 70% of which are from the local area.

It supports 405 jobs.

The project pays all its staff London Living Wage.

84% of member businesses also pay their staff London Living Wage, and 62% of their staff are from the local area.

Members purchase 49% of their good from the local area.

Through its Community Investment Scheme, each year the project offers more than 2,500 free hours of training, education and mentorship to local schools, individuals and organisations.