Notes: February Open Meeting 11/02/2021

The February meeting started at 8pm in response to several requests for a later start due to work and most particularly childcare duties. We will trial this time over the next few meetings.
What time suits you best?

Welcome to our new faces Dan Bird (renewable energy projects) and Azhar Iqbal (Nudo Pizza).

As East Finchley’s community and business network, N2United provides the opportunity for us all to share news and suggestions as to how we can make East Finchley an even better place to live and work.
All ideas will be compiled and published on our website.

1.    Updates

Welcome new businesses
In these difficult times, we are delighted to see new businesses starting up so a warm welcome to Patisserie Gourmandise and Japanese Acupuncture clinic in Bedford Mews!

Congratulations to the The Finchley Society
The Finchley Society is celebrating its 50th anniversary today!
Thanks for sharing this happy news, Harriet Copperman – Finchley Society.

A Plan for East Finchley
Following on from Roger Chapman’s talk at the January meeting about ‘How a Community Can Work Better Together’ and understanding that the secret of a good plan is the people, the place and the community, we asked Roger what the biggest challenges are in an area like East Finchley.

Roger replied that a primary challenge is about people talking together and exchanging ideas in exactly the way we were doing at this meeting tonight. The key is to start with small scale changes e.g., Cherry Tree Wood plantings and tennis courts, along with the Friends of Market Place and the Archer Academy activities supported by funding from Grange Big Local. Longer term goals can only be achieved with a strong collective will!
We must all discuss and agree on what we want to see improved, and how can we effect change locally.

N2United will be developing thoughts over the next few weeks canvasing opinions and ideas. We must all discuss whether or not we are interested in making changes and what those changes might be. The Archer will help us publicise ideas and meanwhile everyone must think about it and get involved! And we must encourage our friends and neighbours to do the same.

East Finchley Food Project
The Food Project is growing week by week! Giuseppe Sollo, the chef responsible for this initiative, reported that the original number of beneficiaries was 200 and limited to East Finchley; now the number has increased to 400 and is expanding to different areas. Unitas in Burnt Oak has given the Food Project access to an industrial sized kitchen in a large building, where more and better quality food can be prepared. Next month Giuseppe is hoping to increase the number of recipients to 500. The project is always looking for more volunteers – to cook, to distribute and so on.
Contact The Food Project at

East Finchley Summer Festival
Owing to the pandemic, the Festival is unlikely to go ahead this year. A June event will be impossible unless a way can be found to control numbers on the gate. The only alternative is a possible event later in the year, but this is also very uncertain.

Business Update
Some local shops have closed permanently including the florist on Fortis Green which has moved to Finsbury Park and the Polish grocer opposite the tube, which is closing down altogether.

Many shops are open for business, including take away restaurants and cafes (two Thai restaurants on the High Road: Bangkok Lounge next to Tony’s and Nahling a little further south, Mezes & Shish, Going Greek next to KFC, Poseidon and the new pizza shop Nudo. Very positive feedback expressed about Nudo! Azhar Iqbal of Nudo looks forward to getting much more involved with the community.

Coffee shops such as Dan & De Carlo, Coffee Bank and Campbell & Syme are still going strong for take away only. Please do frequent them!
Delicatessens and grocers such as Tony’s, Amici, the new organic grocer in King Street Food and Wine and Bottles & Jars inside the Hexagon Classic Cars showroom on the High Road south of the tube station will continue to thrive with your custom. The same applies to bakers and patisseries such as Yasha Halim on the corner of Kitchener Rd, Margot’s Bakery on East End Road and the new patisserie next to Pacey’s newsagent on the High Road ‘Gourmandise’. Gourmandise is taking cash only for now, but is looking forward to welcoming credit cards soon.
Our two great butchers (Midhurst on Fortis Green and Grahams at the top of Ossulton Road on East End Road) are doing well, as is A Scott & Son Fishmongers.
And that’s without mentioning the very helpful chemists, Bugden’s, Amy’s, Iceland and Sainsbury’s Local!

N2United’s new directory and training programme
N2United’s FREE directory
will be available to promote all businesses and services in the community and share news and offers.

N2United Training – back by popular request so look out for new training programs and advice surgeries from March 2021 – What’s your biggest training challenge?

Grants and opening up after lockdown
What do businesses need in the way of support when they re-open? We know many feel a bit stuck, wondering where they can get help, whether they should do more on line business, apply for grants, use social media differently etc.

N2Unique Campaign Extension (Cafes and restaurants offering takeaway or changing their business model etc.) Would anyone like to be showcased? Who are the people behind the businesses? We want to get to know you better!  The Archer can help too. Customers are far more likely to come to you if they know more about you!

2.    Speakers

Lynn Winton – Tube library
Lynn has been responsible for a quiet revolution in the area, which was publicised in The Archer in January 2021. Four years ago, thinking it would be nice to have an exchange bookcase in the centre of East Finchley, Lynn approached TFL, who took a year to get back to her. Prickett & Ellis funded the bookcase and Lynn visits most days to tidy it all up. Copies of The Archer are available there too. Do give it a tidy if needed as you pass! Many love this mini exchange library and we don’t want to lose it. Sadly people recently started dumping unwanted clothes and other items there. Station staff then packed the bookcase up ready to throw out, and had to be persuaded of its value.  Please would everyone help to maintain and tidy it!

POST SCRIPT: Oh No! From Lynn on 15th February 2021

Sad news on the station bookcase. The bookcase was taped up and closed this morning.
I spoke to Station staff who told me this morning’s superintendent made the decision.
Sometime between my last visit yesterday morning and lunchtime today, it had been left in a terrible state as people had left piles of books despite there being clearly no room for them.  Some idiot had left a deckchair (yes that was not a typo, an actual deckchair) and for the superintendent it was the last straw, as last week other idiots had left bags of old clothes and goodness knows what else.  Probably as a result of charity shops being closed people are just looking to selfishly dump stuff wherever they can.
I can only try and get it reinstated after lockdown. It usually works so brilliantly and appreciated by so many but it only takes one or two morons to ruin it for everyone.”

Steve Gold – Commercial Leases
Steve built on his presentation in January, by explaining some more of his back story. Steve has been working in commercial property throughout the UK since he left school in 1963. Over the years, his most exciting times were spent in a two-man partnership in South Molton Street with his cousin, acting for M&S and handling much of their expansion including into branches in Pinner and Muswell Hill.

In 1985, acting for M&S, he and his partner were instructed to buy the freehold of eight shops behind M&S’s Portobello Road store. To keep the purchase price realistic they used a nominee name for their client. In the middle of a complex negotiation, they were rumbled and some very fancy footwork and price changes were needed to pull the deal off.  
Steve is delighted to join N2United as a business adviser.

Roger Chapman – The Finchley Charities
The Finchley Charities have been operating since 1488. Yes, you did read that right! They manage 172 housing units across three sites, the main areas being Homefield Gardens and Wilmot Close & Thackrah Close. The Finchley Charities also run the Fuel Land Allotments.
The Charities are seeking new trustees with relevant skills (finance etc.). If you are interested, please contact Roger direct.

Julia Hines – Grange Big Local (GBL)
GBL is collecting names for a petition to improve Market Place playground  
(if you would like to help support, please email ). They are also supporting Giuseppe Sollo’s Food project. GBL have launched a new pilot making grants of up to £500 for people living within the GBL catchment area who want help to get back into work. These grants could fund anything from childcare to equipment such as steel toe capped boots and black trousers to work in Waitrose.
N2United looks forward to hearing from those who have been awarded grants – hopefully at the March meeting.
Julia is also pushing for a vaccination centre in N2, the closest centres currently being in Finchley Central and West Finchley.

Laura Roberts – Laptops For Lockdown
Laura talked about this education related initiative last month and since then has been inundated with support. Laura is very grateful, but as this is an ongoing project please continue to support it.

A similar scheme is being operated via the East Finchley Facebook Community Group.

Gillian Jordan – Age UK
Get the latest Age UK Newsletter
Gillian will report further at the N2United meeting in March.

Diana Cormack – The Archer  
The Archer, led purely by volunteers, has received many compliments for its February edition, not least in recognition of the number of engaging pictures.
Good to note that even in the current difficult circumstances The Archer still has a sufficient number of deliverers. Thanks were extended to Alison Roberts for setting the content each month prior to printing.

Dan Bird – new to N2United
Dan, whose priorities are renewable energy and upcycling, demonstrated that an old C120 stand can double as an iPhone stand! Dan Is passionate about abolishing single use plastics. N2United will be happy to connect Dan with East Finchley environmental groups such as No2Plastics N2.

3.    Close

Thanks to everyone for your attendance and energy and the ideas to shape your network…

Thanks to Grange Big Local who again co-hosted the meeting as well as the fabulous coverage in the East Finchley Community Facebook Group and of course The Archer newspaper.

Thanks to everyone who has been, and is supporting, the various food projects and a special thanks to the N2United committee, especially Louise Cambridge for co-hosting and Ruth Anders for these notes, all work so hard behind the scenes.

Look out for further details on how we can all build on the ideas on improving our area and bringing Roger Chapman’s community ideas to life, and on our suggestions about advice and training for businesses when they re-open after Lockdown.

The East Finchley community calendar and N2United community directory are now live.  Look out for your invitation!

Let’s build on the ideas and information shared tonight – reach out to your neighbours, to local businesses and to the other community organisations.

4.    Next Meeting

11 March 2021 again at 8pm (which seems to be popular!) via Zoom. The meeting is open to everyone where we will build on the ideas shared tonight, keep safe, support our local businesses and keep spreading the word about #N2Unique.