Notes: March Open Meeting 11/03/2021

1.    Welcome from Chair, Nick Allan.

Welcome to all of our new faces especially new ventures, Aku Adjei (Music and Motivation), Katy Hodges (N2 Mums Speak) and Janka Mladenova (Little Volcanoes).

As N2’s community and business network, with a wide range of interests represented at each meeting, 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.

We act as a forum for all local businesses and community organisations and provide an opportunity for businesses to promote their services. All ideas will be compiled and published on our website. As the majority of attendees prefer the meeting time of 8pm over 7pm we will continue at this time at least for the next few meetings.

2.    Updates

Nick was delighted that we were into March, signalling better weather and hopefully the start of a much happier and healthier year.

East Finchley Food Project
Alison Roberts reported that the EF Food Project has now become a CIC in its own right (community interest company). Nick reported that he had seen behind the scenes noting not only the wonderful food on offer, but also the range of support options. People in need can benefit from getting delicious food , and volunteers can donate via the Go Fund Me page, and/or ‘Pay it Forward’ by coming along to buy a meal, simultaneously making a donation equivalent to the cost of two meals – their own and someone else’s.
Contact The Food Project at

East Finchley Summer Festival
The festival is now officially postponed for its customary June slot as reported in March edition of The Archer. No promises about later in year and this will very much depend on Barnet Council.

Cycle Lanes
Chris Stavrou noted the frustration expressed on the ‘Letters Page’ of the March edition of The Archer by shopkeepers south of Fortis Green. The principal issues in that area are that all parking spaces have been removed and replaced by the cycle lane, which isn’t a continuous cycle lane anyway. Customers cannot park near those shops, and just give up so retailers are losing customers and income. The retailers are not against a cycle lane in principle, but it should not be one that prevents people using those businesses particular those from neighbouring communities. The shopkeepers are all very worried about the negative effect on their livelihoods.

Cllr. Claire Farrier acknowledged that the scheme had been implemented with too little consultation, although many cyclists love it. She urged N2United to submit a complaint to Consultation online. Officers are considering minor adjustments.

The big frustration is that shop keepers do not feel they are being listened to.

East Finchley Plan
The lack of response about suggestions such as a loyalty card (like the one operating in Muswell Hill) is disappointing. As Roger Chapman said, any change can only come about through communication, which is critical. Without an interest being demonstrated, nothing will even start to happen. Make your views known!

Grants and Finances
On the N2United website, local accountants Tax Assist have provided a breakdown of the budget, tips on the grants available and how to access them etc. N2United would like tips from you too. Have you had the support you need?

Business Update
The Crazy Corner shop on the corner of Baronsmere has closed. The New Local Café’s landlord is not renewing the lease at the end of the month, so the business is moving to the Cup Of Joy further north on the High Road. The old Cherry Tree shop and Rykers still do not appear to have found new tenants. Two outlets on Aylmer Road including the Post Office have closed. Maurizio has been running Amici Delicatessen for 26 years and all the staff speak Italian.

Customers can purchase a huge variety of goods including magnificent Easter eggs and wine. The shop has been enjoying great success since lockdown as customers working from home come in for sandwiches, and lots more people are cooking at home. The new patisserie, ‘Gourmandise’ is doing such good business it’s too busy to do an interview at the moment!

3.    Speakers

Gillian Jordan (Age UK Barnet)
Age UK Barnet is advertising several paid job vacancies including a part time gardener, a full time Community Services Manager and a Living Well Manager. These and other opportunities can be found on the website

Age UK Barnet is always looking for volunteers, including those willing to help with shopping, telephoning, and befriending and training is available. An easy way of donating financial support is to log on to the website – a percentage of everything purchased goes to Age UK. They have singing and cookery classes online, and have recently achieved a Dementia Services contract in Barnet – using a house west of Hendon Lane, which will be shared with another service. The building is being upgraded to accommodate both. Claire Farrier said she would contact Gillian for an update. Get all the news from the Age UK newsletter.

Linda Sou (Grange Big Local)
Three main projects underway:

  • COVID Recovery Fund is open for applications – up to £500 for training and equipment.
  • Community grants projects progressing in next few months with a significant variety of recipients (three grantees attended this meeting: Katy Hodges, Janka Mladenova and Aku Adjei – see below)
  • UBI (Universal basic Income) hosted a conversation recently explaining their rationale and this project is ongoing.

Linda Sou is leaving the Grange Big Local (GBL) to be Program Officer at Create Jobs, an employability programme for young Londoners. Nick Allan expressed thanks to Linda for her time and support, and to GBL for hosting our monthly Zoom meetings.

He also commended GBL’s Julia Hines’s Twitter feed to the meeting, highlighting many interesting activities in East Finchley, especially her reports on Covoid-19 rates etc.

Aku Adjei
Aku is working on a Music and Motivation project for parents of young adolescents who may have been struggling with home schooling children of a difficult age. Six initial sessions FOC and funded by GBL.

Katy Hodges Mums Speak
Katy thanked everyone who have helped promote her work. Mumspeak is an inclusive group, and she would like to hear from mums from disadvantaged and low-income backgrounds.

Janka Mladenova
Yanks runs Little Volcanoes, offering classes to low-income families and vulnerable children who cannot afford after school classes. Little Volcanoes has already filled quite a few classes still has vacancies for Year 2, 3 and 4 children focusing on the fun of science etc. N2United and the meeting generally was urged to promote these opportunities and the accompanying free science starter pack.

Roger Chapman
Roger reported that the Friends of Cherry Tree Wood are holding a meeting next Tuesday 16 March at 7pm and all are welcome. The refurbishing of the tennis and basketball courts is finished with a re-opening date of 29 March. He also mentioned that the state of the Cherry Tree Wood playground had been highlighted, triggered by the Friends of Market Place. Friends of Cherry Tree Wood have sourced approximately 100 small trees, and if anyone would like a few trees planted in public places please let Roger know!

Finchley Community Magazine
Nick mentioned that one or two who had hoped to attend the meeting but had sent apologies included Nicola Harrison of Finchley Community magazine, the March/April edition is out now and features N2United and other local interest stories.

Count Me In
Nickie Fonda,
a local resident, is suggesting East Finchley look at the global ‘Count Me In’ initiative to involve a billion people and organisations in ‘doing their bit’ for the climate and the earth. At the core of what they are promoting are 16 Steps, all of which could be carried out and/or supported both by individuals and by businesses and other organisations. Nickie said, “It seems incredibly timely to me, given the emergency we are all facing, and the fact that COP26 will be meeting in Glasgow this November”. It is a great example of ‘think global, act local’.

As with other ideas and suggestions, a project like this needs support to make it work… is that you? Get in touch with your interest and visit their website for more details –

Finchley Foodbank
The East Finchley Food Bank has been serving over 400 people from St Mary’s Church in the High Road over the past few weeks and needs support. He suggested that local businesses could possibly act as a distribution point and create a closer connection with customers.

Anna Maughan, Vicechair of the Finchley Foodbank (in absentia) said, ”In the last few months we have been experiencing a surge in people requiring food support. Our numbers are now reaching the 450 point and still growing and the queue of people waiting for us to open, very visibly, stretches beyond our premises and along the High Road. We are hoping that with schools reopening, that families will start to feel a bit more supported and that our numbers may drop in a few weeks. Once society open further in April, we again hope to see more people being able to support themselves, but we can only wait and see. Thankfully, the community of Finchley and beyond have met the challenge so far and we are able to support everyone who visits us with food. All donations of food and money (we are buying in eggs and cheese) are very gratefully received and put to good use”.– The Finchley Foodbank is part of the Westminster Roman Catholic Diocese. Trustee Charity No 233699

Lynn Winton – Tube library
Lynn had also hoped to join the meeting, but it was noted that while the library had briefly disappeared, it was now back! An update would follow in April.

Jon Woolfson of the Tarling Road Community Hub had sent his apologies but had asked the meeting to note the vacancy for a receptionist on a 10-hour weekly slot over weekends –

Stephen Gold has put some useful advice on managing your lease negotiations on our website and is happy to help members with similar issues.

October 2021 – N2United is 5!
Nick reminded us that October sees N2United reach its fifth birthday – ideas are sought as to ways of celebrating.

4.    Close

Co-host Louise Cambridge, of UOE, thanked everyone for attending and for their energy and ideas they might submit to shape their network … it was great to see new and familiar faces.

Thanks to Grange Big Local for co-hosting the meeting, and for the fabulous coverage in the East Finchley Community Facebook Group and of course to Diana Cormack for coverage in The Archer newspaper.

Thanks to everyone who has been and is supporting the various food projects, to our Councillors and a special thanks to the N2United committee.

Next Meeting

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