Notes: June ‘Open Meeting’ 10/06/2021

With the first technical hiccup since running our meetings via Zoom, a number of members were unable to login at the start time of 8pm … including the host! It did not take long however for the meeting to get started, opening with the appropriate sounds of ‘Hot in the City’ by Billy Idol, our hosts chosen walk-on music for the meeting, and he was right, it was hot in the city well in this part of the capital city anyway!

Welcome from N2United Chair, Nick Allan

With regular co-host, Louise Cambridge giving way again to Ruth Anders (to make sure her stella performance in May was not a fluke ha-ha!) we were off with the usual packed agenda. Ruth made the point that it was again a pleasure to see so many familiar faces as well as all of those attending for the first time, all are most welcome!

As this was an ‘Open’ meeting, free for all local businesses and organisations to share their news, get support and promote each other’s endeavours, we heard from a number of local representatives including those from The Food Project, GBL Fun Palace, Age UK, Dementia Friends, Home Care Preferred Barnet, KOKOS, HADAS, UOE and new business, Deepsym amongst many others.

The meeting was again honoured by the presence of 2 of our Local Councillors, Claire Farrier and Alison Moore who once again showed their commitment to the area and these meetings with updates on a number of local matters (see below). They both attend a LOT of meetings on our behalf, so we are very grateful they are able to make time for these monthly N2United meetings!

Guest Speaker – Daphne Chamberlain – East Finchley Arts Festival
Unfortunately one of our guest speakers, Daphne Chamberlain, representing the East Finchley Arts Festival, had her own technical issues and was not able to join us on the night. Daphne will make a personal appearance at our meeting in July (but shared an update via email), asking for new ideas and to invite the East Finchley community and N2United members to get involved and share their ideas and suggestions for the festival – See below.

1.     Updates since last meeting

Roger ChapmanHADAS (Hendon and District Archaeological Society)

The society is holding a festival of British archaeology on 17th and 18th July.  It is being held in Market Place as it is one of the most historic sites in East Finchley where there will be an Archaeological dig.
Did you know? The reason there are no buildings in this area is because of a landmine (since removed). No doubt this question will feature in Brian’s quiz (see above) sometime?

Jake Eiseman-Renyard

Local performer, Jake Eiseman-Renyard is looking into how the performing arts can be a way of making important messages, fun.  Jake works with puppets, (currently working at a studio in the Chocolate Factory in Wood Green) making puppets from reclaimed pieces including abandoned stuffed toys etc. Jake likes to combine different forms of the arts such as writing, role-play, illustration, animation, theatre, and puppetry and says, “they all come from the same source, a form of story-telling” adding, “If you can do one, you can do the others, too, you just might not know it yet.”
Jake has another project in the pipeline for Christmas with the show, ‘Duck Whittington’ which will raise money for Whittington hospital.

Jake is also a passionate environmentalist and wants to use media such as TV shows and theatre to promote ecology in a fun, positive, engaging manner to inspire people to want to make a change for the better.

Julia Hines – Fun Palace

Regular contributor to N2United meetings and prolific ‘tweeter’, Julia Hines, talked about the upcoming ‘Fun Palace’, the free festival organised by GBL. Anyone who wants to get involved should get in touch with Julia. The ‘Fun Palace’ puts ‘culture at heart of communities and communities at heart of culture’.  Julia explained that “Culture is whatever people say it is, past Fun Palaces have had astrophysics, knitting, watercolour painting, brass bands, rap.  Everyone can do something; every skill can be shared.  It’s all about taking part, having a go, being inspired, sharing what you know!” Their tagline is ‘everyone an artist, everyone a scientist’.

Qua Boon Leong – Home Care Preferred Barnet

‘Home Care Preferred’ in Barnet are providers of homecare for a wide range of clients ensuring that they can remain at home in an environment that is comfortable and familiar while receiving the highest standards of care.

As well as an extensive range of services, they also provide a wide range of accessibility and mobility living equipment to be used at home to help with mobility, reablement and supporting independence. Help and extensive advice on using equipment can also be provided to ensure that each client can make the best choice for them.

Janka Mladenova – Little Volcanoes

Not able to join us on the night, Janka, founder of ‘Little Volcanoes’ wanted to remind us of her educational company that runs kids’ science after school classes, toddler groups, birthday parties, and online classes. The focus is on hands-on experiments where every child has their own equipment. Lessons are a unique blend of singing original educational songs, interesting hands-on and sensory activities.

Dan Bird – Deepsym

Dan, a local engineer working in product development, helps people bring new products to market.

He is currently working on a lamp which is an aid to mindful breathing which helps users work their diaphragm via wireless connection sensors. It has been trialled in various situations in particular, people with anxiety, but also people with IBS.  He said, “Deepsym’ is way for us to connect with ourselves through mindful breathing. Since its beginnings as an art Installation in 2014 it has developed and will launch soon to bring the individual and connected experience to the home, practice or group session. We are still carrying out user trials so if you would like to take part then get in touch!”

The East Finchley Food Project
This valuable service run by local volunteers continues outside The Phoenix every Tuesday from 10:30 am until 12:30pm. Focused on supporting those requiring assistance, people are encouraged to come and collect delicious, portioned, cooked meals for free and without question. Others are encouraged to try the changing recipes and if able, donate or ‘pay a meal forward’ for the benefit of others. Given the amount of people they are helping they continually need financial support to keep the project running so please help if you can!

Finchley Food Bank
Unable* to attend the meeting this month, we heard from the team at the Finchley Food Bank run from St Mary’s Church, (at the north end of the High Road) who wanted to say:

Please send our huge thanks to the community of N2, we rely on donations from different sections of the community and every donation does make a difference to someone. We are always looking for more organised collections, so if anyone is interested in starting a collection for us through their workplace, school, faith group or street please contact us via our website. While you are there have a look at our blog which is updated weekly with our list of much need items and the newsletters we produce for our clients. Many thanks for everyone’s continued support, Finchley Foodbank”.

Age UK

Gillian Jordan, Age UK Barnet, tempted us with news she will be sharing at the July N2United meeting. Until then, people are directed to the charity’s website for more information as well as access to their highly informative newsletter.

2.     Business update

Think we had done with technical issues?
No, it was difficult hearing our roving business reporter, Brian Hooper, who had internet connection issues meaning hisregular, ‘N2United Business Update’ was a challenging listen given we could only hear every other word!

What we were able to hear included his review on the N2 area and the 8, main commercial areas (and over 200 shops/businesses) and in comparison, to other local areas are lucky enough to have had less shops/businesses close down since the start of the pandemic.  Last month Brian counted 15 shops that had not opened up again after other businesses re-opened, this month that is down to 14.

In-person meetings
We are hoping in September to have in person meetings, so we are reviewing suitable venues including community spaces, religious centres, pubs (including Bald Faced Stag, Clissold Arms, White Lion and Five Bells etc.). Please contact Brian if you have any suggestions for venues for future meetings.

Local business ‘Showcase’
N2United continues to help local businesses and the community with a range of business stimulation campaigns, and we are currently featuring a number of local businesses on our website as part of the ongoing ‘Showcase’ feature.

To share your ideas or to have your business featured as one of our ‘Showcase’ business on our website and shared across our social media platforms, get in touch!

3.     Report from our local Councillors:

Councillors, Claire Farrier and Alison Moore, East Finchley ward councillors, updated the group on a range of local matters including the cycle lanes, speeding, crime and environmental issues.

Claire is now on an environment committee for Barnet council and has discussed the issue around local food waste and the facilities required to recycle it etc.  She has also been speaking to residents on Long Lane and hearing their concerns about speeding which has become an increasing problem since the installation of cycle lanes on the High Road. There will be a minor review in September on the introduction of cycle lanes and their effect on parking in particular.

Alison discussed how the cycle lane has exacerbated the issue of traffic and all of its effects and there is a community infrastructure fund, and some money will be hopefully used to improve the mixed reviews on the cycle lanes in the area. The ongoing evaluation of their effectiveness has not been helped by someone sabotaging the data collecting wires outside the library!

Both councillors reminded people to provide as much, detailed information as possible on specific issues so they can quickly investigate and assist.

East Finchley Police
Can you spare 5 minutes of your time to complete this East Finchley – Ward Survey?
Residents are encouraged to share their views as it will help the local Police understand what the community needs so we they better serve us!

The Causeway petition

The recent petition for improved safety in The Causeway has started well and has already received over 3,600 signatures but still needs more local support to affect change, sign the petition but time is running out to have your voice heard!

4.     Guest Speakers

East Finchley Arts Festival
Unfortunately our guest speaker, Daphne Chamberlain, of the East Finchley Arts Festival had her own technical issues so shared the following update via email*:

“East Finchley’s annual arts festival came to an end with the death last year of Geoffrey Hanson. The festival was very much Geoffrey’s baby, and he made a considerable financial contribution to it.

Any new festival will be unconnected with the previous model which has been officially wound up with all monies left over donated to All Saints church, and the committee has been disbanded.

At the last meeting of the old committee, everyone agreed that it could not be continued in its present form but felt it would be good to see local arts celebrated in a different form.

Given we have such a lot of talent in East Finchley – a lot of it undiscovered – we are now looking at ideas and invite the East Finchley community and N2United members, to share theirs particularly in running a festival with no money!

For example, in the June edition of The Archer, there is a beautiful back page of pictures taken by one of our self-taught photographers and the recent artwork on the hoarding outside the old GLH site came from one of our online workshops, this one funded by a Grange Big Local, community grant.

Other ideas include:

A community wide celebration and link up all of the different forms of the arts across the community – e.g., poetry readings in cafes, artwork in shops, music at the station, dancing in the parks. It would be great to involve local talent from schools and interest groups?

Any shop/ café/ pub/open space -any venue showcasing local talent will benefit themselves as wherever people are exhibiting or performing, their families and friends will be there too as well as any resulting publicity from local ‘media people’ living locally.

In response to the Archer article, we have had expressions of interest from a local organiser and fund-raiser, an offer of publicity from the Muswell Hill and Fortis Green Association, and a request   from the BBC Symphony Band at Elstree. There is also interest from the GBL Fun Palace team and N2 Poets are also extremely interested as is local performer, Jake Eiseman-Renyard!

Please do let me know via ‘The Archer’ if you would like to get involved in any way or if you have any other ideas?”

Daphne added, “Just to make it clear, neither The Archer or I will be the organisers of the event, but we will help with publicity and support”.

5.     AOB

The Archer
Do you have a local story or want to share your news? The Archer Newspaper is always keen to hear from local businesses and organisations and the individuals who run them. If you would like to be interviewed for a potential piece in The Archer, get in touch!

Brian’s Tuesday Quiz
Brian Hooper
is still hosting his popular weekly quiz every Tuesday from 8pm via Zoom. He provides an insight on the topics the questions are based on in advance so people can brush-up on their knowledge and it is open to everyone! Zoom ID is: 771 5119 7569, Password: 2JrVBX.

Litter launch
Look out for details on the ‘Litter launch’ and other local initiatives on our website, keep safe and spread the word!

Dementia Friends

Cllr. Farrier is also involved with Dementia Friends and runs a series of Dementia Friends information sessions locally.

6.     Thanks & Close

That is a wrap on a hot night of networking… ‘Hot in the City’ indeed! A huge thanks to everyone for staying at home(!) and joining in with the June N2United Zoom meeting!

Co-host, Ruth Anders, thanked everyone again for their attendance and especially the sustained energy and ideas shared and encouraged everyone to spread the word about these regular N2United, 2nd Thursday, monthly meetings.

Thanks as ever to our speakers and contributors with a special thanks to ‘The Archer’ for hosting this meeting as well as for their coverage and support. Thanks too, to our hardworking Councillors, Alison, and Claire, all the organisations helping out in the community, including the Food Project, Finchley Foodbank and all of our local businesses especially those just starting out… let’s build on the ideas and information shared and support each other and keep supporting our local shops and businesses, you’re making the difference!

7.     Next meeting – 8pm via Zoom on Thursday 8th July 2021

The July meeting is again, FREE, and open to everyone and will build on and develop the ideas shared at these meetings to support our local businesses and organisations, keep us all safe, and keep improving the area where we all live or work. Remind your business neighbours!

Remember! Our ‘Summer Social’ in August will hopefully… be outside!

*Cannot attend the meetings?

Do not worry, we get it! You’re busy and probably have lots of calls on your time but remember, you don’t have to attend the N2United meetings to share news about your organisation, business or project, just use this link to share your story, news or request and we’ll share it to our members and across our social media platforms.

N2United Community and Business Network