Notes: April Open Meeting 8/04/2021

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.

1.     Welcome from N2United Chair, Nick Allan.

After welcoming everyone, especially to all three of our local councillors, Nick opened the meeting stating this was an exciting time because of the impending relaxation of Covid-19 lockdown restrictions meaning more of our beloved shops and local businesses could re-open on Monday the 12th April, adding, “we’ve missed you!”.

2.     Updates since last meeting

The East Finchley Food Project
The East Finchley Food Project distributes delicious meals from the Phoenix Cinema each Tuesday from 10:30 to 12:30. Alison Roberts summarised the project’s activities stressing the importance of the pay it forward scheme. This enables supporters to ‘donate to pay for their meal and one other’. On 22 March the Food Project was able to take over from Grange Big Local, and launch as an independent entity. 3,750 meals have been triumphantly produced in the first three months.

Finchley Food Bank
The local Food Bank is run from St Mary’s Church, towards the north end of the High Road, working in conjunction with other food projects. Please support and refer to Facebook for the list of particular items required each week.

Count Us In
‘Count Us In’ is a global initiative to encourage people to work together on environmental issues and similar matters. The scheme has been proposed by local resident, Nickie Fonda for East Finchley and is looking for a local sponsor to drive it forward – if that’s you, get in touch!

The Phoenix Cinema
It was good to see Jelena Milosavlijevic (Programme & Learning Director for the Phoenix Cinema) back at our meetings and able to report that The Phoenix Cinema will be benefitting from increased financial support and will be open again soon.

Grange Big Local
The team at the Grange Big Local are encouraging people to sign up to the Grange Big Local mailing list to hear monthly about all the work going on behind the scenes of this valued local organisation.

Tarling Road Community Hub
Jon Woolfson said that the Tarling Road Community Hub, along with other community centres, will be allowed to open from 12 April and that bookings are being taken accordingly. Government guidelines will be strictly followed. TRC is planning to hold an event across several East Finchley venues on Monday 5 July. Contact Jon for further information –

The Finchley Society
Harriet Copperman reported that all at The Finchley Society are looking forward to being able to being able to celebrate their 50th anniversary in suitable style when they are able to. Congratulations on such a milestone from everyone at N2United!

Brian’s Tuesday Quiz
Brian Hoopers long running weekly quiz starts at 8 pm and usually ends about 9pm It used to be held at the East Finchley Constitution Club but is now via Zoom. Look out for a list of topics published on his Facebook page on the Friday or Saturday before each meeting so people can do some research! Zoom ID is: 771 5119 7569, Password: 2JrVBX.

Age UK
Age UK are pleased to announce the launch of their ‘Manifesto for the Mayor of London’ election on 6th May. They are asking for 9 areas of specific action and if implemented they hope will make a significant contribution to making our city more age-friendly.

Dementia Friends
Cllr. Farrier is actively involved with Dementia Friends and over the coming weeks is running a series of Dementia Friends information sessions. There are over 3400 people living with dementia in Barnet, but people with dementia can live well and independently for many years. By understanding the daily challenges that people living with dementia can face, you can play your part too. 225,000 people develop dementia every year, that’s one every three minutes. Help to make East Finchley a dementia friendly community and join the next session via Zoom on 21st April –

East Finchley Arts Festival
Brian Hooper reported that at the East Finchley Arts Festival Committee meeting on 17 March it had been agreed to discontinue the previous format. Daphne Chamberlain is writing an article about this in the May edition of The Archer. A suitable individual is being sought to take over as Director to expand the late Geoffrey Hanson’s format into a broader range of arts and music.

East Finchley Plan
A formal plan for East Finchley has been discussed at previous meetings to benefit the whole area including the introduction of a local Loyalty Card. As local businesses do re-open up, we don’t want to ask them for discounts as we first must use them to keep our High Road thriving.

3.     Business update

Re-opening after lockdown
In anticipation of our much-loved shops and traders reopening on the 12th April, we heard from a number of excited but cautious businesses getting ready to open. We all wish you well and hope to see you soon!

Brian Hooper reported that there had been no business closures since the last meeting. The Local Café will close by end of June but is moving a little further north to the newly opened Cup of Joy. Delicious desserts are available at Gourmandise and from the Turkish bakery, Yasar Halim. Tony Mackie’s Fruit & Veg stall at East Finchley station will re-open from 12th April.

Business Stimulation Campaign
A scheme for a local business stimulation campaign is under development (similar to the N2Unique campaign) – watch this space.

Richard Mansi – Forever Distributor
Long time supporter of N2United, Richard Mansi, promoted his online business, ‘Mansi Healthy Lifestyle’, supplying  healthy Aloe Vera drinking gels & Aloe products that are pure, powerful and packed with benefits. Aloe vera can help you maintain natural energy levels and has natural cleansing abilities that help the digestive tract absorb nutrients from the foods we eat, whilst promoting friendly bacteria growth.

4.     Report from our local Councillors:

Cllr. Alison Moore reported on the exciting project of Marketplace Playground. Cllr. Arjun Mittra is on the committee and Cllr. Claire Farrier has been involved too. They have been working with the newly formed Friends of Marketplace Playground bringing Grange Big Local and Barnet Council funding together, which has directly opened the possibility of applying for funds from other sources. To add to the positive news, play specialist Tim Gill has been attracted into the project. People are being brought together via this initiative which is especially important in the context of recovery from Lockdown.

Cllr. Mittra reported his recent focus on potholes in the Norfolk Close/Prospect Ring area where Barnet Homes are finally investing in communal area repairs. He has also been involved in reviewing Long Lane area road safety including a possible new pedestrian crossing.

On behalf of us all, Nick highlighted local concerns relating to rising crime. Brian Hooper reported his recent conversations with Metropolitan Police Ward representative, Jan Lovell, who acknowledged that the elderly were being particularly targeted via various scams. Look out for the Metropolitan Police Service booklets on phone scams and the Metropolitan Police Service booklet on other scams.

Cllr. Farrier reminded the meeting that while crime is not strictly the not remit of the local Council, concerns had been recognised about the attacks on the Causeway (technically in Hampstead garden Suburb).

Cycle Lanes
The three Councillors were asked for updates about the cycle lanes which has caused a variety of challenges, not least because of the loss of parking facilities for local shoppers. Cllr. Mittra reported that the Council had not yet proposed any formal plan. However, he could confirm that the environment committee have decided not to progress the suggested cycle lane from North Finchley to High Barnet. Various meetings had been held, alongside many back and forth communications with the Environment department. Councillors promised to maintain the pressure and champion the cause on behalf of local businesses. He added that the annoying bollards near Baronsmere Road are the responsibility of the water company, who should shortly be removing them.

Cllr. Moore stressed the importance of being given as much detailed information as possible on specific, related issues. N2United has summarised these concerns and has written to all our local councillors.

5.     Speakers

The Archer – Diana Cormack
Diana Cormack, (known locally as ‘The Archer Lady’), reminded the meeting that The Archer newspaper is run entirely by volunteers and is regarded as the ‘glue’ of the community. The first Archer editions of this year have contained over 20 articles about local businesses including features on No2Plastics, Grange Big Local and the Market Place Playground as well as new start-up businesses such as Bottles & Jars, the Church Lane grocer and Gourmandise have been covered as well as articles focusing on people running businesses from home. Diana reminded people to contact The Archer if they could demonstrate a community interest aspect, to enable the paper to promote new local businesses.

6.     Soap Box

Hilary Townley leapt on this month’s Soap Box to talk about litter.
Hilary reported a tsunami of public opinion passionately expressed about the increased amount of local litter, also featuring in the national news for some time. She asked if this issue could be turned into an N2 initiative, e.g. by possibly:

  • Launching street initiatives via street WhatsApp groups to raise awareness
  • Encouraging local schools to get involved.
  • An article in The Archer newspaper

The message could be: Don’t drop locally what you’ve shopped for locally!

James Masters, chair of the Grange Big Local suggested a monthly ‘10/10/10’ campaign, report 10 things within 10 meters of where you live on the 10th of the month. Then we can help coordinate us all including Barnet Council into action perhaps using Barnet Councils, ‘FixMyStreet’ reporting tool.

All are encouraged to come up with ideas for an N2 wide initiative.

7.     Close

Co-host, Louise Cambridge acknowledged the excellent attendance this evening and thanked everyone for their energy and ideas. Once again, she asked everyone to spread the word about the regular N2United, 2nd Thursday, monthly meetings.

Thank You!
Thanks were expressed to everyone who is supporting the various food projects, to our Councillors, to The Archer for hosting the meeting via their Zoom account, and a special thanks to the N2United committee, particular to chair, Nick Allan for his personal time and dedication. Meeting notes will be available via

All ideas the various initiatives, including litter are most welcome!

N2United is 5 years old in October!
Louise also issued another reminder that N2united celebrates its fifth birthday in October. Whilst a Black & White ball (the long-held hope of the chair!) may not be achievable, all ideas for a celebration are most welcome!

Next N2United meeting

8pm via Zoom on Thursday 13 May focusing on Business Matters
This business themed meeting is being timed to coincide with the further relaxation of Lockdown.
We will also be discussing ideas for our business stimulation campaign – tell your business neighbours!