All posts by Nick Allan

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

Starting your Own Business?

In association with TaxAssist Accountants – East Finchley

The team at TaxAssist Accounts have produced another helpful guide, this time with advice on starting your own business. This guide covers ten key areas to help steer you through the early stages of your business.

“We understand that starting a business can present you with moments where you meet certain challenges which you may not have experienced before and so we have put together a guide to help bring our combined learnings over the years of helping thousands of businesses to start up, grow and thrive”

See ‘Advice for Business‘ for more information and to get your copy as well as other business advice!

Thanks again TaxAssist Accountants!
We are grateful for the help and advice provided to our members by Drazen Coric and his team at TaxAssist Accountants over the years and in particular the advice re grants during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Meeting: April 2021

N2United April ‘Open’ Meeting
Thursday 8th April– 8pm* via Zoom

Come and ‘Rabbit’ * at the N2United Easter networking meeting on the 8th April. The meeting is FREE, via Zoom and open to everyone (local organisations and businesses) and will focus on sharing plans and ideas to help us all thrive in these uncertain times.
Look out for details soon!

*’Rabbit’… Ever wondered where the phrase “rabbiting on” comes from? It’s Cockney rhyming slang, ‘rabbit & pork’ = talk!

Please RSVP

If you’d like to speak at the meeting, click here!

Wherever you work or whichever organisation you support, we’ll all benefit from your ideas, help and support so we hope you can join us?

To get the joining details for this FREE Zoom meeting, look out for your email and RSVP or confirm your place via the N2United Facebook page!

Notes: Christmas Cracker – 17/12/2020

As this was our ‘festive meeting’ it was for everyone including all East Finchley organisations, shops, cafes, restaurants, traders, freelancers, groups, charities and businesses to share a drink and have some fun at the last meeting of the year.

1.     Welcome: (by the Ho, Ho, Host – Nick Allan)

Ho, ho, ho said our host as we settled in via Zoom (probably from home but there were a couple of suspect backgrounds…) for the N2United ‘Christmas Cracker’. Some with that Pu’erh tea we mentioned in our invite, most with wine and one with what looked like an energy drink… (Not sure the next 40 minutes were going to be that strenuous!) all wearing a jolly hat, some with rather fetching antlers!

This meeting was of course a departure from our usual Christmas meeting. Usually, we’d all be fighting over the last chicken wing or slice of quiche by 7pm in the Stag or The Clissold Arms, oblivious that Ali would arrive late (again) to try and wrestle the last remaining sandwich for herself in an unconscious attempt at beating her own record for the ‘most paid and least received’ award.

Determined to close a challenging year with at least some festive fun, attendees at this last meeting of the year also shared their favourite cracker jokes (see below) and heard from businesses and community organisations with their various updates.
In closing the meeting, thoughts turned to how the community, residents and business had come together to provide much need support during the tribulations of 2020. Our host thanked everyone and encouraged us all to build on this pointing out that in times of challenge, it’s our own communities that make the difference.
With that in mind, the N2United January 14th meeting will focus on bringing these elements closer together and encouraged everyone with a stake in the area, especially businesses and organisations, to join the meeting via Zoom and share their thoughts and ideas.

The meeting closed with a ‘toast’ to the fabulous community of East Finchley especially the key workers, Covid-19 support and all those supporting our new and unique makers, cafés, restaurants, shops and small businesses. Let’s keep supporting them in the way they supported us.

2.     Updates

Food Project – Giuseppe Sollo

Phoenix Cinema – Tuesdays 10.30-12.30

Project run by East Finchley Neighbourhood Support to feed disadvantaged families was launched on Tuesday 15th December.
With the help of Community Barnet and Grange Big Local (GBL) and the Phoenix Cinema as the distribution point, freshly cooked meals will be provided to local people who need them free of charge, with no questions asked or referral needed. Deliveries will also be made directly to local agencies who will help direct food to where it is most needed.

Find out more at:

Cycle Lane update – Chris Stavrou

No change to current situation although in an email to Chris, Barnet Council say the scheme is temporary and remains under review.

Residents reported they saw just one bike over a two hour period on Tuesday 16th December, “all over the place not always in cycle lane, and the road traffic was appalling”. Reports showed that traffic backs up to North Hill, N6 by 3pm every day. It has been suggested that traffic lights may be re-phased ‘to try to help’ although there are concerns that will just shift the problems and jams to East End Road and Fortis Green instead!”.

Tarling Road Hub – Jon Woolfson

Tarling Road Hub used to be called ‘the Old barn’, since knocked down and the hub built in its place. It offers spaces for hire including a large hall, offices and working spaces and is available for community activities. Small kitchen downstairs which could be developed into a café depending on the partnerships that develop – plenty of opportunities. Cleaning in place so is Covid-19 compliant, taking bookings from New Year.

For more details –

Business Update – Ruth Anders

Ruth has been talking with various small businesses especially those on the High Road. Issues continue around cycle lanes and lack of parking because of them and the CPZ extension in Twyford Avenue area as well as pavement studs. Ironically Barnet Council have installed large posters imploring the public to ‘shop local’!

However, noted that business rates have been waived until March and public parking restrictions are to be lifted on Saturdays during December.


#N2Unique is a list of East Finchley new or unique  shops, makers, cafés and small businesses and part of a local campaign to stimulate trade for local businesses particularly in the crucial run-up to Christmas. It’s hoped this will be inspiration for locally sourced seasonal gifts from new and unique shops, makers, cafés and small businesses. 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 see

Community Trust – Gail Coles

Reported the trust has been quiet all through Lockdown and doubts there will be a meeting before spring.

The Archer – Diana Cormack,  

The Archer newspaper is run, written and managed by volunteers and has been a longstanding supporter of the area and N2United and has recently been 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 –

East Finchley Community Facebook Group

Over 8,000 East Finchley Community Facebook Group active and vibrant.

The Facebook team are also supporting the #N2Unique campaign promoting local shopping.

Join here

Universal Basic Income (UBI)

On the 8th December, Jack Dorsey, CEO and founder of Twitter gave $15 million (£11.2million) to fund a Universal Basic Income (UBI) programme for 30 US cities which energised the second conversation on the potential for a similar, albeit smaller trial in East Finchley on the 9th of December.

The discussion centred on how a scheme would work in East Finchley and if introduced, what people would spend the proposed £100 a week on. The money would be paid unconditionally to everyone in work or not, without bias of gender, family structure or size of household including to those not usually seeking eligible for financial support including CEO’s and millionaires. Further conversations are planned and again local residents are encouraged to share their thoughts about the value of a trial of UBI in East Finchley via email to

Phoenix Cinema

We are awaiting government guidelines about when the cinema can re-open. Better news that the cinema has been awarded £126,328 from Culture Recovery Fund. The Phoenix said, “This support will be invaluable in allowing us to keep our doors open and we are so grateful to @BFI for recognising our work and place in the community”.

For more details –

Finchley Foodbank

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. 

For more details –

3.     Cracker Joke Winner*!

  • What do you call an old snowman? Water
  • What athlete is warmest in winter? A long jumper!
  • How does Good King Wenceslas like his pizzas? One that’s deep pan, crisp and even!
  • Who hides in the bakery at Christmas? A mince spy!
  • What did Adam say on the day before Christmas? It’s Christmas, Eve!
  • What does Santa suffer from if he gets stuck in a chimney? Claustrophobia!
  • *Mrs Clause looks up to the sky on Christmas Eve and says to Santa, it looks like Reindeer! (Winner – Ruth Antlers Anders)
  • Why can’t Christmas trees knit? Because they always drop their needles!
  • What goes Ho Ho Whoosh, Ho Ho Whoosh? Santa going through a revolving door!

4.     Quiz

We didn’t get chance for our quiz which included these questions (answers will be on our website after Christmas).

1.             How old is Archie, the statue at East Finchley station?

                A.             80       B. 75

2.             Which comedian lived in the flats next to East Finchley library?

                A.             Spike Milligan     B. Peter Sellers

3.             Where is the memorial garden to Octavia Hill, a founder of the National Trust?

                A.             Strawberry Vale   B. East Finchley Cemetery

4.             Which singer was born in Church Lane, East Finchley?

                A.             George Michael     B. Amy Winehouse

5.             What used to be grown in Cherry Tree Wood, East Finchley?

                A.             Cherries         B. Watercress

6.             Which pub has a blue plaque inside commemorating where The Archer newspaper started?

                A.             The Bald Faced Stag     B. Maddens

7.             Who opened Holy Trinity Church of England School in 1974?

                A.  The Archbishop of London        B. Margaret Thatcher

8.             At which East Finchley pub did bare knuckle boxing used to take place?

                A.             The Five Bells   B. The Old White Lion

5.     Jolly Hat competition

Despite some stiff completion (see photo) including the 2 hat reveal from Brian and Louise’s full face Santa effort, Hilary won the best ‘Jolly hat competition (bottom right) with an electrifying entry… ironically, Hilary is more colloquially known as ‘Hat’!

6.     AOB

Organisers Calendar

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

Website Directories and Listings

N2United are inviting community organisations to get listed in a local directory of all organisations and businesses in East Finchley.
To get included, see

Completion winners (Hat, Joke etc.)

The winners of the various competitions all agreed that their winnings would be donated to a local charity.

7.     Close and Thanks

N2United 2021

The regular meeting on the 14th January 2021 will again be for everyone to discuss, share and plan how we can all help each other next year.

N2United aims to help bring everyone together to enable them to share their news, get support or promote their organisation or business.

Everyone with a stake in the area, especially businesses and organisations are encouraged to join the meeting (via Zoom) and share their thoughts and ideas.

For details of the January meeting, see

Thank you

Thanks to everyone for their attendance through the year especially to The Archer, Phoenix Cinema, East Finchley Community Facebook Group and all of the N2United committee and volunteers.

Next meeting:
14th January 2021 (via Zoom)

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