Category Archives: social entrepreneurship

On Beer: East London’s Burgeoning Beer Mile (and a bit)

The CultureJukebox team are fond of a real ale or two (or three or four…)  So, it’s great to hear about some awesome new breweries opening up close to our home in East London.

In fact, the team here thrilled that some of these new breweries are putting purpose before profit too. Opening up near each other, this new brewing scene is top tribute to a fantastic beer culture that is brewing in our corner of the capital.

So, what’s new?

The Magic Spells Brewery, Leyton

The newest and latest independent Craft Brewery in East London currently produces three bottled beers:  A Craft Lager, a Pale Ale (called Hackney Hare) and an IPA.

Magic Spells’ beers are a somewhere between modern brewing techniques and old styles and methods; taking inspiration from classics and adding a modern twist. The brewery creates distinct flavour profiles for the beers – an up front and bold hoppy flavour, a satisfying bite to the beer, smoothly balanced due to a nice malty body and warming alcohol.

The brewery sources most of the malt used in its beers from the UK plus British hops boosted by punchy flavoured hops from New Zealand and America.

It was founded by Jas Hare, an Eastender born-and-bred, who has a fantastic track record in the drinks industry as well as being a craft beer enthusiast.

Magic Spells Beers are available in both 330ml and 500ml bottles with an RRP of £2.49 and £2.99 respectively. They’re all available online, and in venues around London too.


Nirvana Brewery, Leyton

Another new brewery for 2017, Nirvana does something completely different. A low / no-alcohol brewery – sure a great idea for our increasingly health-conscious times.

It’s the UK’s only micro brewery dedicated to zero and low ABV craft beers. Beers on offer include Mantra (an IPA at 0.7% ABV), Kosmic (a stout at 0% ABV), and Chakra (a stout at 1% ABV). The team at Nirvana promise “no compromises” on flavour, so we’re excited about our first visit!

Pretty Decent Beer

Opening up just down the road in Forest Gate, Pretty Decent Beer Co has just opened its doors.

On Sheridan Road in Forest Gate, near Cann Hall Road, this brewery looks like one to watch. The team promise: “We make decent beer and do decent things with the money you spend drinking it. We brew our beer in London and every bottle helps to fund sustainable water projects around the world.”


The CultureJukebox team hasn’t had chance to visit yet, but this brewery promises to be really superb – we like what we’ve seen on Instagram so far.

And Pretty Decent Beer Co is just a few minutes walk from some of Forest Gate’s best independent venues – The Wanstead Tap for an incredible selection of real ale and provocative programming, Burgess & Hall for beautiful wines; and the quirky and delicious Hawkes cider HQ.


A proper round-up of some of Forest Gate, Leyton and Leytonstone’s best watering holes for this summer is coming soon. Where do you think should be on the list? Send us a Tweet and let us know where we should visit..


On Ideas: Reflections on Internet Culture after our WebSummit visit

Last week I spent a few of days working from the FutureSocieties conference at WebSummit in beautiful Lisbon. The event is Europe’s biggest technology and entrepreneurship conference – a global meeting place for web-thinkers and entrepreneurs focused on changing business and lives.

The FutureSocieties conference is a big part of WebSummit – bringing together leading thinkers, politicians and academics to discuss how our cities, our working lives and our culture are being transformed.

There were a huge amount of inspiring talks, packed with useful ideas and opportunities to connect with new companies, media and organisations who could help us to go mainstream. See below for a brief summary from talks and the entrepreneurs I met – I’m obviously happy to expand on any of these themes or connections if particularly useful for anyone’s work.

Talk 1) How is tech changing giving?

A provocative talk that claimed philanthropy and giving is stuck in the past. French entrepreneur Alexandre Mars gave a super interesting talk about how philanthropic organisations often operate in silos. How do we encourage giving to new ideas and social entrepreneurs doing things a little differently?


He claimed that much of philanthropy is failing new social organisations and ventures seeking to make wide impact on problems that assail the poor. So, he set up Epic Foundation: this innovative website uses evidence-based data tools to identify innovative social ventures and organisations, giving them the tools they need to be successful regardless of prior track record, and then monitors their progress while working with them to evaluate what works and what doesn’t.

Corporate partners love Epic’s model because it demonstrates contributions unlocking their full social impact potential. Because of this, Epic helps corporations fulfil their social responsibility goals, while supporting organisations that make global social impact, whether that be feeding children in Darfur, offering underprivileged children access to technology and higher education courses, or getting homeless people out of shelters.

There is a Comms and storytelling element too. Epic also provides news, stories, photos, and videos curated by their team from each portfolio organisations, creating not only a second high-value data point for donors to monitor, but also a growing stream of content to drive their inbound traffic and marketing. The constant flow of information that the Newsfeed provides shows that their money is working hard and that Epic Foundation and the organisations it supports are constantly in motion. Lastly, each venture Epic supports comes with an individual profile. This offers data, news, and background information – building credibility they need to build their donor community.

Talk2) Is the internet making us stupider?

Comedian David Schneider led an interesting talk on how the online world is changing the way we think. It was centred around the amount of online “content” that is out there. Consequently, our brains have learned how to read differently (with constant distractions), which has reshaped how we learn. While the Internet gives us access to more information than before, paradoxically, we are becoming dimmer and more superficial as a people.

There is a science behind this too. When you encounter hyperlinked text, your brain asks the question: “To click or not to click.” Because you are constantly being interrupted to make these decisions, you rarely “get lost” in the text and consequently the information infrequently becomes deep knowledge. The WebSummit heard how this redirection of our mental resources, from reading words to making judgments, may be imperceptible at first. But it’s been shown to impede comprehension and retention, particularly when repeated frequently. Not surprisingly, Internet usage is rewiring how we think.

Talk 3) The Filter Bubble vs democracy

I was at WebSummit as Donald Trump (surprisingly?!) won the election, so the question mark about us living and working in a filter bubble was high on the agenda. Have the open channels of the internet become ‘echo chambers’ for certain viewpoints? Does this impact the democratic process? And scientifically, the way we perceive and understand information?

Charles Arthur from from The Guardian opened the session: what is the effect on democracy of the fact that search engines and social media tend to feed back to users ideas that they already agree with? He considered that the problem of the echo chambers caught everybody – possibly also search engines and social media – by surprise particularly around Brexit and the US election. He asked to his panel if in four years time, when the UK will not be a member of the EU and the US will have new presidential elections, the filter bubble will have been addressed and burst?

Ann Mettler, Head of European Political Strategy Centre, said:  “The industrial age was about standardisation, the digital age is about customisation”.

This translates into an objective problem when it comes to today’s information world, where echo centres translate into the perpetual strengthening of biases and beliefs. Before the advent of social media newspapers were the ones responsible of fact checking and of making decisions on what was newsworthy. In today’s online world the absence of “mediators” in social media, and the fact that nowadays success depends on shares, not accuracy or precision, results in a wealth of lies and rumours dressed up as news.

The panel admitted the problem is far from being easily fixed, considering that people do not appear to really care, comfortable as they are right now in the bubble. Both Gary and Ann Mettler added that something would need to go “horribly wrong” in the democratic process for a solution to become felt as urgent globally.




Of course, WebSummit wasn’t just about the talks. See below for a few interesting start-ups trying to make the world better in their own way:


  • A new start-up, hoping to become the first community platform for refugees and supporters


  • Social Business who empowers Entrepreneurs to become Social Entrepreneurs, by using their knowledge and technologies to help the Governments solve Local and Global Problems, creating their own Crowdfunding Campaign where the Citizens and Investors support your Social Impact
  • A new social network for social entrpreneurs basically!


  • A social platform that connects non-profits, businesses and individuals to facilitate greater measured impact through incentivised volunteering and donating


  • Introducing students to technology and entrepreneurship and inspire in them a sense of entrepreneurship, a quintessential skill in today’s economy. We provide technical students the opportunity to further develop their technical knowledge and reach out to non-technical students to introduce them to the wonderfull world of technology.”


  • Helping refugees and migrants connect with locals through the language barrier


  • A new app that changes volunteering – making it more accessible for people & efficient for organisations. Allows people to organise for action

The Happiness Network

  • The Happiness Network is a social enterprise that focuses on creating technologies, brands and campaigns to empower people to maximise their quality of life and happiness.



The CultureJukebox team left WebSummit full of new ideas and promising new connections. Obrigado!


On Sustainability: Sundried launch ethical sportswear brand

The CultureJukebox team have always been fans of ideas that bring together sustainability, style and performance – so it was brilliant to get our hands on some products from new brand Sundried.

It’s a new British brand that’s dedicated to making premium activewear ethically, taking care of the environment and staff.  Read about the brand’s brilliant values here.


We’re particularly keen on the sustainability values after purchase.

Up to 80% of the impact of a t-shirt occurs after purchase. The water, chemical toxicity, energy use and emissions from washing and drying your clothing all contribute to your eco footprint. Throughout our marketing, our products, wash care labels and our site, we encourage and remind you to Wash Cool, Sun Dry.

Partnering with The Low Carbon Innovation Fund has allowed Sundried to produce their mens and women’s activewear with 100% transparency and as little a carbon footprint as possible. And, according to the website – purchasing through Sundried helps provide a child with clean drinking water for the first time.

Each item in the Sundried activewear collection is uniquely coded with a pledge to charity Water for Kids – which has volunteers working to provide clean water sources for children in rural disadvantaged communities such as Uganda, Zambia, Tanzania and Kenya.


Watch out in 2017 for a crowdfunded triathlon collection. My samples have just arrived – check out CultureJukebox again later this year – after my next two races – for a full review of the products! For more information, visit Sundried here.


On Sustainability: the ongoing coffee-cup waste campaign

As regular CultureJukebox readers will know,  we’ve been campaigning against coffee cup waste for a long time now.

So, it was great to read about Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s BBC News piece, here.

There are some eye-opening statistics in the piece. In his War on Waste campaign, Hugh estimates that 2.5 billion single-use cups per year go to landfill in the UK. But the problem is much bigger when we look beyond Britain…  With estimates of up to half a trillion manufactured, globally, over 100 billion single-use cups go to landfill each year. Starbucks, in the US alone, serves 8,000 cups per minute.

At CultureJukebox HQ we just received an email from an  innovative company called Ecoffee. It explains:

Due to the volumes produced, single-use cups are cheap and make up a miniscule percentage of the cost of a cup of coffee, which means a change to something more sustainable will impact on profits, and shareholders are averse to anything that does that. Starbucks has announced it will be “trialling” Frugal Cup – a recyclable single-use cup – in the UK. Whilst this is a step in the right direction, we don‘t believe it tackles the problem at the source. We can’t see how this will work in practical terms either.  Separation and non-contamination of recycling is the key and unless facilities exist, it will be very difficult to ensure such separation occurs, especially when dealing with cups that are taken off premises. Instead, and as is the current reality, cups will simply end up in general waste. In order to have any impact at all, coffee chains need to invest in special facilities – dedicated bins, dedicated waste recovery, dedicated recycling facilities – and pool resources to do it. Unfortunately, we can’t see this happening any time soon.

So, we think that rather than focusing on the recycling of single-use cups, it’s behaviour that needs to change. A bit like single-use plastic bottles, and more recently, plastic bags, it’s evident that it’s not that hard to change a few little things to help make a big difference. Reusable coffee cups are the way forward.

We’ve stopped drinking coffee from single-use cups. And you should too! The Ecoffee Cup is worth checking out. Made from biodegradable bamboo fibre and available in a wide range of designs, Ecoffee Cup is light, practical and resealable for easy storage in bags.

With a number of coffee shops and cafes offering discounts for those using reusable cups, it also saves money for the British coffee consuming public. The Ecoffee Cup team has set up the #stopthe100billion social media campaign in an attempt to raise awareness of the issue and effect real change in the way we consume coffee.




Our Neighbourhood: Get fit and do good too…

Great news for our neighbourhood, because the brilliant GoodGym crew are coming to our corner of East London – launching a Redbridge team.

The genius idea sees people getting fit by doing good; volunteering their time on much-needed community tasks. These can often mean volunteering time and energy with elderly people, on outdoors tasks and helping to bring people together.

It was launched in Wanstead on Monday July 25th.  Organisers explained: On a gorgeous evening for doing good, 15 runners were joined by the Redbridge Mayor to get fit and a do a good deed. After a brilliant welcome speech from Mayor Gurdial Bhamra and a few insights from GoodGym founder, Ivo, the group were off like a bullet down Wanstead High Street – if good needed doing in the borough, this was the group to do it.

The task in hand was Wanstead Community Allotment, a fantastic project run by the good people at Vision Redbridge and is used by local children and adults with learning difficulties. However, like all allotments it takes plenty of TLC and has recently been over-run with weeds. The allotment is going to be a long term project for GG Redbridge and it will be amazing to see it transformed over the coming months… With the Mayor watching from the sidelines and giving his support the allotment was transformed within 35 minutes. Gone were the waist high weeds and pesky grasses. Banished was the bindweed and the tiresome thistles. Sweat was shed and weeds were uprooted. Not to put too fine a point on it, but Wanstead may never have seen weeding as fine as this.

With the good deed done, it was time to head out and get hot and sweaty. After a100-up and some Strides on Nutter Field, the group headed to do an urban stair race utilising the pedestrian bridge over the A12. With the runners split in to pairs it was a chance to see who was the fastest over the dual carriageway – much to the amusement of Monday night traffic – and who could hold a squat the longest. Brilliant fun but tough on the quads as well.

With a sweat worked up and 4km run we returned to our new home at Wanstead House for some easy stretching and to bask in the glow of a job well done…”

The CultureJukebox team would definitely recommend getting involved! You can find out more on the GoodGym Redbridge Twitter feed too. Great fun.

GoodGym comes to East London - in Wanstead on July 25th: c/o
GoodGym comes to East London – in Wanstead on July 25th: c/o
GoodGym comes to East London - in Wanstead on July 25th: c/o
GoodGym comes to East London – in Wanstead on July 25th: c/o
GoodGym comes to East London - in Wanstead on July 25th: c/o
GoodGym comes to East London – in Wanstead on July 25th: c/o


GoodGym comes to East London - in Wanstead on July 25th: c/o
GoodGym comes to East London – in Wanstead on July 25th: c/o
GoodGym comes to East London - in Wanstead on July 25th: c/o
GoodGym comes to East London – in Wanstead on July 25th: c/o