Notes: Community Matters – 12/11/2020

Thursday 12 November 2020 – 7:15pm via Zoom

This meeting was for the organisers of the various groups working on behalf of East Finchley to get together, share ideas and get support for our respective objectives.

Warm welcome from Chair, Nick Allan. 
We aim to be a conduit to bring together all N2 community organisations. The last community meeting was in September when we had strong representation from many different parts of the community. Tonight, a special welcome to Councillor Arjun Mitra, who will be invited to speak when he’s heard what most others have to say.

Giuseppe Sollo
Giuseppe’s project to feed disadvantaged children during school holidays started after he shared his frustration on the East Finchley Community Facebook group.  As a relatively new East Finchley resident (he moved here last year after seven years in Islington, and loves N2!) he was horrified by the increase in family poverty in our area. Thinks ours is one of the best London areas, average salaries quite high compared with other boroughs. However, this new poverty, especially among children, shocked and angered him.

So many families have suffered during COVID, and are finding it very hard to get government support. Increasing number of volunteers responded to Giuseppe’s Facebook post. Now the group is starting to organise fundraising, food collection and delivery. They need to source a van, and refrigerators to keep food for six hours. Giuseppe is working with three restaurant managers to develop a plant based menu. Food will be designed to be stored from 3 to 5 days plus instructs as to how to warm it.
Giuseppe needs to establish a distribution/collection point. (Tomato Tutors site suggested, but possible landlord constraints) Jelena Milosavljevic (Phoenix Cinema) suggested that they could be a possible venue for distribution and she will speak to the trustees.

More information available through East Finchley Facebook Neighbourhood Support Group. Please join the group if you’d like to know more or can support in some way:

For more details –

Gill Jordan, Barnet Age UK 
Gill has lived in East Finchley since 1975, and has been involved in community activities for a long time including as Secretary of East Finchley Arts Festival.

She explained that there may be some confusion around the different organisations supporting the elderly. In 1940, when there was no welfare state, a group of organisations, individuals and government representatives formed the National Old People’s Welfare Agency, which eventually became Age Concern. By 1990 there were over 1,000 organisations in the UK. There are well over 200 regional branches of Age UK, and also a national body.

Age UK Barnet was formed at the end of WW2. Lots of information on their website. It’s a flourishing regional branch whose vision is to make Barnet a rewarding place for those in later life. They have a contract with London Borough of Barnet but the financial grant has been reduced considerably. Now trying to source different funding. Sometimes lucky enough to receive legacies.
Gill stressed the importance of those making wills to stipulate Barnet Age UK to prevent the gift going to the National Age UK, where it would be severely diluted! Barnet Age UK has both paid staff with specialist skills and many volunteers. Helen Newman is their excellent Chief Executive.

Many services are offered including the critically important area of Later Life Planning and solicitors are there to help. Other help offered includes access to Benefits and entitlements plus scams awareness. Normally a big range of physical activities like falls prevention, alongside general exercise, Tai Chi, walks, dancing.
Encouraging older people to use the internet, run sessions in schools, helped by the students.
Additional services include shopping for people – more relevant during pandemic; men’s afternoons and cookery classes especially for men who are widowed and who have never cooked.

All face-to-face activity has stopped owing to the pandemic. There is a strong focus on trying to reach the vulnerable and lonely, including a flourishing befriending service using a phone based model.

Barnet Age UK is looking for sponsors! Raffle prizes etc, and employees to volunteer.

For more details –

Jon Woolfson
Centre Manager for Tarling Road Community Hub, in post since September 2020. Jon previously worked for the Grange Big Local… Tarling road hub used to be called ‘the Old barn’ since knocked down and the hub built in its place. Jon’s role is to make the centre work for the community. It offers spaces for hire including a large hall, offices and working spaces.

He wants to open it up to community activity. Small kitchen downstairs – perhaps could be developed into a café depending on the partnerships that develop. It’s early days, but plenty of opportunities. It’s a challenging time to be starting this role, but Jon is looking past COVID-19 to the future and to what opportunities lie beyond.
For more details –

Alison Roberts, East Finchley Facebook Group
Ali and her team including Louise Woollam does an amazing job on behalf of us all, said Nick, with over 8,000 East Finchley Community Facebook Group and a very active and vibrant group. Ali said that the recent big story is Giuseppe’s project reported above. It just came from a post venting frustration. Following the first live meeting in the High Road last month, there have been a number of virtual meetings.

Look out for Facebook Group spin off groups (by the same team), one of which is East Finchley Neighbourhood Support, which was created in March as a Covid -19/Lockdown support group.
The Facebook team are also supporting the #N2Unique campaign promoting local shopping – see #N2Unique

For more details –

Andrew Niewiarowski, No2Plastics
Most locals are aware of the campaign to rid East Finchley of ‘single use plastic’ (SUP). No2Plastics is a group whose purpose is to promote ways of shopping in a more eco-friendly way. Its inception followed the documentary by David Attenborough about how we are contaminating the oceans. No2Plastics has worked with local shops encouraging them to use less SUPs (bags, straws, cups, etc).
New website at – the team welcomes your feedback!

It has been difficult to maintain momentum during the pandemic because of vital SUPs like PPE. The group is lobbying to build in extra provisions through government, plus writing for The Archer, eg Maxine Klein writing about going plastic free for a week in the next edition.

For more details –

Peter Hale, East Finchley Open Artists (EFOA)
Peter has lived in the area since 1975. East Finchley Open Artists have 60 members who used to meet regularly in the Clissold, and now all meet via Zoom. Normally they stage exhibitions during the year including the big Open House during summer. This is the perfect time to produce a new website and Peter will take a month to input all members’ info.

The site will enable on line exhibitions and will hopefully be up and running in December. Permanent Christmas Tree now outside Budgens, which will be lit up at beginning of December to inject a bit of normality! Once website up, EFOA will be looking for sponsorship: their brochures and newsletters etc will provide many opportunities for business and EFOA to work together.

Roger Chapman, Friends of Cherry Tree Woods
Nick said that Roger had been involved in East Finchley community projects for 40 plus years, including the management and much of the success of East Finchley Festival. Today, Roger confirmed that he is now focusing more on environmental projects including Friends of Cherry Tree Woods which has recently been awarded a grant of £20,000 from Barnet Council, which will cover some small landscaping work, new bins, notice boards, and a willow area for basket making. He is looking forward to the next East Finchley Festival, hopefully in June 2021.

Lockdowns 1 and 2 have seen increased litter, racist graffiti – now cleared away. However, sadly someone has tampered with the locks on the gates.

Thanks to The Archer, the Friends have a very enthusiastic gardening group getting going on planting, making new beds and a community orchard.
Roger hopes there may be new tenants for the Kiosk early in 2021. Council is currently undertaking final checks.

He reported that, because of a recent accident in the basketball court, Barnet Council have been reviewing the state of the courts. A complete refurbishment (probable cost of £15K)) is needed and Barnet are getting quotes for the necessary work. Maybe miracles will happen, but Roger not overly optimistic!

The Friends can be found on Instagram and Facebook and via their website which is due an update, volunteers who can help should contact Roger.

For more details –

Nicola Harrison, Finchley Community Magazine
Grange Big Local is currently writing an article for the magazine, which covers all the Finchleys. Nicola loves supporting the community. The magazine is produced in both print and digital, and can be accessed via Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Just look up Finchley Community Magazine.

For more details –

Diana Cormack, The Archer 
The Archer newspaper is run, written and managed by volunteers and has been a longstanding supporter of the area and N2United and recently promoting the #N2Unique campaign – see #N2Unique. If you are interested in participating in the newspapers coverage or to express your views in The Archer, write a letter, send an article or join our soapbox.

We’ve kept going throughout the pandemic and intend to continue. Stories are East Finchley community based.
Big piles of copies available for collection in Budgens and at the tube station.

For more details –

Linda Sou, Grange Big Local
Linda works for Grange Big Local (GBL), a resident led community project working out of East Finchley.
They are now offering their annual Community Grants Programme: offering grants to local residents and organisations for projects/ideas that will contribute to the community. Up to £500 available for individuals, and up to £10,000 for local organisations. Many successful projects previously
The application form will go live on the GBL website on 16 November. Funding for successful applicants will come through in January.

For more details –

Julia Hines, Grange Big Local 

GBL’s area is limited to a tiny pocket of East Finchley. Grants, however, are available to people who live outside the area, but must benefit the people within the GBL area, eg Bread & Butter from outside the area got a grant last year. Long Lane Pasture can certainly apply as it benefits everyone.
Marketplace Playground – holding first on line ‘Friends Of’ meeting 7:30pm on Wed 18th November. if you’d like the Zoom details, please email

For more details –
Universal Basic Income (UBI)

Universal Basic Income: a fixed term UBI Trial does not form part of the current Grange Big Local plan, and would need the Council to be on board. It also has Benefit implications. A meeting will be held on 9 December to hear all voices. If you’d like to attend, please email to join meeting.
UBI can serve many purposes but will need to ask local people if that’s what they want Grange Big Local to spend their money on.

For more details – send an email to

Ewelina Sadlowska, Phoenix Cinema
The cinema was hoping to re-open on 5 November, especially after the news of the financial rescue plan. Now rearranging plans. The building has been closed for seven months, and is currently posting messages for local residents.
The Phoenix can offer poster spaces for community projects, and there are also opportunities on the Readograph.
We are awaiting government guidelines about when the cinema can re-open. January more likely than December 2020.
Brian Hooper mentioned that a film crew had been filming at the side of the Phoenix all morning recently – did the Phoenix know? Ewelina will investigate.

For more details –

Arjun Mitra, East Finchley Ward Councillor
On behalf of the community, Nick expressed great appreciation for what Arjun and his fellow Councillors do for the whole of community and thanked his colleague Councillor Alison Moore for attending the October ‘Business Matters’ meeting which focused on businesses expressing fury at the new bus and cycle lanes.

Arjun commented that the update is not great right now. No written communication has been received from the Officer managing the process, which was very frustrating. He added that many of us have campaigned to get an effective cycling infrastructure in East Finchley, only to see it executed at last but badly without proper consultation or planning. The Council now appears to be changing its tune re: the initiative’s permanence. Having been assured that there would be consultation at the end of the current temporary measures, Arjun had discovered last Friday that the Council is treating this six month period as the formal consultation period!

Totally unacceptable. Arjun will be speaking to Cllr Cohen to check all this. The bad junctions, loss of parking, bus lanes, problems round Martin Primary School are just some of the issues. Barnet Council don’t always listen!

Mike Freer MP shares our concerns and Arjun will keep trying, the attempts to get the Baronsmere Road, island reinstated have been successful.

On behalf of the community, Nick expressed thanks to Arjun for his ongoing commitment, involvement and his accessibility.

Chris Stavrou, owner of Kokos
As N2United representative for the ‘Business Matters’ team, Chris reported that last month’s meeting was very well attended and focused on business support and lead generation including much discussion about cycle lanes and their effect on local business – see The Archer November 2020

N2United is building a directory of local organisations and businesses, to include your organisation visit

He reported that local businesses have now started using the hash tag ‘#N2Unique’. Many established and up and coming new businesses are taking part. If anyone knows of businesses who could benefit from participating, they should get in touch with N2United and support the ‘#N2Unique’ campaign by using the hash tag on their own social media posts.

For more details –

Reverend Marius Mirt, Holy Trinity Church
Reverend Mirt said it was wonderful seeing such vibrant East Finchley representation. He is leader of a church which has been here for 170 years. Originally it sat in the centre of fields, a hidden building. Thanks to Arjun and the team, it’s now highly visible and a great centre for community and spiritual support.

Holy Trinity is the Parish Church for the community and its own community is a vibrant one and has come back to life in the last few years. An Anglican church, Holy Trinity welcomes everyone. Since Lockdown the church has been supporting the community as much as it possibly can, especially focusing on the elderly who are struggling with isolation.

The building is open for people to come in sit quietly, light a candle etc. The congregation, a great mixture of young and old, meets regularly on line via Zoom for Sunday worship, and Morning Prayer every weekday.

For more details – and in The Archer.  

Finchley Foodbank 
Finchley Foodbank has seen pretty big increases in numbers since the covid crisis began. The number of households supported has more than tripled since this time last year. 

Support from the local community has been constant and generous, but numbers do continue to rise and this puts pressure on supplies. As we approach Christmas, donations have always been very big. Historically, we have always seen an increase in number visiting us for support in January and February and donations usually dip at this time, so that is a worry for the new year. 

A big thank you to many local churches, synagogues, Grange Big Local, schools and resident associations who have been very supportive. Also, East Finchley Community Facebook group admins for allowing our posts requesting donations. Lastly, to Arjun Mittra for his support with lots of enquiries we have made. 

For more details –

Organisers Calendar
N2United are inviting community organisations to participate in an ‘Organisers’ Calendar for organisations to add their dates to avoid clashes with local events, meetings etc.
To get access, email

#N2Unique is a list of East Finchley new or unique  shops, makers, cafés and small businesses. Part of a local campaign to stimulate trade for local businesses particularly in the crucial run-up to Christmas…
Inspiration for locally sourced seasonal gifts from new and unique shops, makers, cafés and small businesses!

For more details or to get involved – search #N2Unique or visit

Thank you
Nick also thanked everyone who attended the meeting or who are supporting the community behind the scenes with a special mention to The Archer, East Finchley Facebook Group, Arjun Mitra and our other Barnet Councillors as well as the various COVID-19 groups reminding everyone that this was their network.

N2United aims to help bring everyone together to enable them to share their news, get support or promote their organisation or business. A big thank you again to Linda and Julia, representatives of the Grange Big Local, for co-hosting the meeting with a final thanks to members of the N2United Committee and especially Ruth Anders for these minutes.

In bringing the meeting to a close, Nick expressed thanks to all for their excellent Zoom etiquette! It had been great to hear from so many contrasting groups. He hoped it would afford opportunities to make new contacts and for us to support each other and work closer together.


Next N2United meeting
We would be usually organising our Christmas Soiree but Covid 19 has seen to that… look out for more details on

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N2United Community and Business Network