Brixton Calling – We meet BID director Michael Smith

What is the Brixton BID? Delores Williams finds out from director Michael Smith. Listen in yourself …



Michael Smith on Brixton Hill with the BID's Spring Blast cleaners
Michael Smith on Brixton Hill with the BID’s Spring Blast cleaners
Picture: Luke Forsyth

People, like myself, may see the word BID in articles about Brixton and its businesses and think: “Oh, they must make bids on stuff” – you know, like an auction.

But there is another part of my brain that knows this is not true. So I met Brixton BID’s director Michael Smith. Michael is well known and respected in the area and spent over 30 years in education and social care before becoming director.

Brixton BID, like all the other Business Improvement Districts, is “a not-for-profit collective of local businesses who have come together to help improve their locality.

There are currently about 50 BIDs in London, each of which creates, develops and funds projects that benefit local business and the community and are paid for by a levy on member businesses.

The BID board is made up of managers and owners of the local business who, together, agree on how best to spend the funds.

Brighter, Cleaner, Safer is Brixton BID’s current slogan.

Cleaner: Money raised from the levy goes towards additional cleaning, graffiti removal and mobile toilets.

Brighter: The BID backs initiatives to make Brixton an even more attractive place to visit.

Safer: The BID, together with Lambeth council, pays for 4,500 hours of work by two “section 92” police officers who respond to non-emergency calls.

The BID also supports night-time street pastors who help to keeps visitors to Brixton safe after drinking a little too much. For instance, they provide flip-flops for the ladies whose heels have become impossible to walk in.

The BID also runs regular free events and workshops on subjects including food hygiene and fire warden training.

Businesses that are BID members may also be eligible for a business rates reduction. Check the website link – as Michael says, it’s up to you to find out if you are eligible. No one will do it for you.