This press release from Barnet Council explains a lot

Finchley Carnival goes with a bang

Barnet Council is all set to help Finchley Carnival go with a bang this weekend.

The popular carnival, which has been running for more than 100 years, will feature a funfair and run from Thursday 7th July to Sunday 10th July at Victoria Park, Finchley.

The Carnival’s highlight will come on Saturday night with a spectacular free firework display for residents paid for by the Council with proceeds from the funfair.

The Worshipful the Mayor of Barnet, Councillor Lisa Rutter, will set off the first firework for the display from 9.30pm.

Councillor Brian Coleman, Cabinet Member for Environment, said: “I am delighted that Barnet Council has been able to keep the traditions of the Carnival going and include a firework display which so many people have enjoyed over the years.

“I hope that next year we can restore many of the other traditional features of the Carnival which our residents have looked forward to so much in the past.”

The editor comments

The Finchley Festival committee were trying to turn the festival away from the idea of a carnival which tended to attract the wrong sort of people to the festivities, but a certain member of the council – no names-no pack drill as they say – told me that he didn’t approve of dispensing with the carnival. I understand that the owners of the fun-fair pay many thousands of pounds to hold their fair in Victoria Park so I guess, sadly, it was really all about money.

I did feel the council was very mean to wait until the Festival Committee had put in hours and hours of their time and probably a lot of money as well, before putting up the rent for Victorial Park from around £145 to many thousands of pounds.

I do understand the need to make the best of the Council’s resources but can’t help feeling that a little forethought and a little compassion wouldn’t have gone amiss.

Posted in Barnet Council, Community, Events, Festivities, Police. Comments Off on This press release from Barnet Council explains a lot

Independents Day calls on residents to save our local Finchley shops (on 9th July)

Finchley is celebrating its first Independents Day on Saturday 9th July. Community group Finchlinks is calling on residents to make a point of shopping in their local high street and independent shops for the day in place of using supermarkets, buying online or visiting other areas.

Shops are doing their part by offering special incentives to encourage people to visit them on the day – an extra excuse for people to try a new shop or discover something different about an old favourite. To find out what shops are offering people can look up

Independents Day has been set up by local community group Finchlinks. The group hopes that the day will remind residents in Finchley of how vital it is for us to support our local shops. This is the first time the group have run the day and they hope it will be the first of many.

Across the UK high streets independent shops are under increasing pressure of low spending, competition from the internet and out of town shopping centres, as well as rising rates and parking fees. Town centre vacancy rates have doubled in the last two years and Finchley’s high streets bear witness to these statistics.

Finchley’s Independents Day is part of a nation wide movement to stop this decline. In May Mary Portas, or Mary Queen of Shops, agreed to take on the challenge of saving our high streets after being invited to chair a review by David Cameron and Nick Clegg. Independents Day has also been taken on by other high streets across the UK. As petrol prices rise people are starting to wise up to the benefits of shopping on our doorsteps. Hard times are also proving fertile grounds for new businesses and this can be seen with the emergence of new shops like Mr Simms Old Fashioned Sweets Shop and Tailors Corner.

Paul Evans, one of the founders of Finchlinks said, ‘Independent shops are the heart of our community. We all love the idea of having good friendly shops on our doorstep but it’s up to us all to support them to keep them there and to encourage new ones in. It’s easy when money is tight to put savings above everything else and just shop in the supermarkets and on line but these could be short sighted savings if we end up with boarded up, depressing high streets.


[Ed: Small businesses can get a free listing from a sister website of the Finchley arrow.] 
Posted in Community, News. Comments Off on Independents Day calls on residents to save our local Finchley shops (on 9th July)

The Pasture’s 2nd Anniversary celebration

Pastures, approaching the marquee

Yesterday (Sunday) evening saw the volunteers, councillors, Mike Freer our local MP and other friends of the Pastures celebrating the magnificent work the volunteers have put in. They have turned the Pastures into a wild horticultural haven, with special plants of interest to butterflies, lovely paths through the huge open space, up to a little enclosure at the far end with its own bee hive.

The volunteers, who only work during the weekends, have, in 200 days of work, really transformed this originally ugly patch to the beautiful haven of quiet and tranquillity that it is.

The pond from the food table.

There is also a huge pond with fish and in season it is a hotbed of tadpoles and frogs. The fish have to be carefully chosen to be the types that don’t eat tadpoles. Alas, as you can see from the photograph, it was covered with algae but we were told by Ann Brown, who chairs the volunteers, that it was the wrong time to remove it as it would cause a lot of damage. We see the view of the pond over the view of the lovely food provided for this occasion!

The anniversary "nosh"!

It is open between 10am and 5pm, during weekends and public holidays, except after heavy rain. Also it is closed quite a bit during winter months. It really is worth a visit and, to get there is quite easy. If you go down Long Lane up to the North Circular flyover you will find the Finchley Fire Station on the N3 side of the bridge. Opposite the fire station is a little lane (you can’t park a car in it though). Walk up the lane for about 25 yards and you come to a gate in the railings on the right. You are there!

Dogs are not admitted as they could do damage to the delicate work the volunteers are carrying out. But you can get a full description and learn of all the work that is going on from their website.

Layout of the Pasture

Layout of the Pasture

Posted in Charities, Community, Festivities, Nature, Voluntary. Comments Off on The Pasture’s 2nd Anniversary celebration

MP pays tribute to volunteers at drug and alcohol treatment charity’s North London branch.

WPD Logo

Westminster Drug Project (WDP) provides the Catalyst and Re-Start drug and alcohol services in the Borough of Barnet. It celebrated National Volunteers’ Week at the Phoenix Cinema in East Finchley.

Finchley & Golders Green MP Mike Freer paid tribute to the passion and commitment of the volunteers who help people to recover from drug and alcohol dependency at the charity Westminster Drug Project.

He said, “Volunteers do a huge amount of good. Often they can win the confidence of people who need help, and inspire them to change, where others fail.

“Volunteering also breaks down prejudice by bringing people in and giving them insight to people’s lives and how they can be helped, whether the issue is addiction, or HIV, or disability.

“It’s a two way street. I’ve been a volunteer and you get a lot back from it. It can also be very important experience on your CV.”

The MP heard moving accounts from former service users who are now volunteers themselves. Jon (26) explained how he had started using drugs as a way of escape: “Eventually I ended up a dependant opiate user and was committing crimes to support my use. My life spiralled out of control and for a 16 month period I was basically homeless and in and out of prison.

“The reason I am mentioning this is because it was a turning point in my life: after a sustained period of abstinence from drug use and crime, I was offered the opportunity to attend a volunteers’ training course at Westminster Drug Project.

“I decided to go because throughout my using days I had some contact with drug services and was very surprised at how helpful, and friendly the staff were.” Jon described how he developed experience and received further training. “By early 2010 I feel I started to prove myself in my role: I was given more responsibility and I was given the chance to help develop our service. I feel that I was always listened to and supported by management and staff.”

Eventually Jon was encouraged to apply for jobs, and decided he wanted to work for WDP. Today he is a successful drug and alcohol practitioner.

Yasmin Batliwala, Chair of WDP, told the volunteers who had come from across WDP’s services in London and the South East of England, “Volunteers’ Week celebrates the fantastic contribution that volunteers make. Today we say thank you for all the amazing work you do. By giving your time, your skills and your leadership to WDP, you are significantly increasing the help and support we can give to our service users.

“Our mission is to support people to recover from drug and alcohol dependency and help people lead full and active lives in their families and communities. Volunteering is a key part of that cycle, of connecting people with the help they need so that they in turn become empowered and able to give back.”

Volunteers make up one in four of the workforce at WDP – about 100 volunteers and 300 staff. Over half the volunteers have recovered from drug and alcohol dependency themselves and are able to provide powerful role models to current service users.

If you are interested in volunteering with WDP, please visit the website and click on volunteering for more information and application form, or visit Re-start. If you want to talk to someone about a drug or alcohol problem, whether for yourself or someone you know, please contact Re-start at:

6-8 Alexandra Grove, North Finchley, N12 8NU – Telephone 020 8492 2525


Avenue House: Janett Durant’s replacement starts on the 15th August.

Avenue House appoints new General Manager

The Trustees of the Avenue House Estate Trust are pleased to announce the appointment of Lance Bourne to the role of General Manager of the Avenue House Estate Trust. Lance will take up the post on August 15th, following Janett Durrant’s retirement from the post of Chief Executive.

Lance has considerable experience in the management of corporate entertainment sites: he spent fifteen years at the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority, rising to the post of Head of Marketing and Events , followed by three years as Business Manager of the Tower Bridge exhibition. Lance also has experience of working with volunteers and of fund-raising.

Andy Savage, Chairman of the Avenue House Estate Trust, says: ‘I am delighted that Lance has agreed to join us. His skill set is exactly what Avenue House needs at this time, and I am sure that he will be a worthy successor to Janett Durrant, who has managed the Estate since the Trust’s formation nine years ago. I am looking forward to working with Lance as we establish Avenue House in the centre of the Finchley community.’

Lance Bourne said ’I am looking forward to joining Avenue House, and working on the Estate. Apart from working in such wonderful surroundings, I am looking forwards to helping increase the use of the Estate, and to continuing the re-establishment of its financial success after the problems earlier this year.’

Sketch of Avenue House

Avenue House sketch

Posted in Buildings, Business, Charities, Community. Comments Off on Avenue House: Janett Durant’s replacement starts on the 15th August.

The Big Society is Alive in Barnet – at the launch in the arts depot.

Photo of Paul Binks

Paul Binks

By Paul Binks

The Launch of Barnet’s Big Society Innovation Bank .

Barnet will be one of the fastest growing areas in London over the coming years. With reductions in public spending to tackle the deficit mean that times will be tough for the next few years, for both those who depend on good public services and those who provide them.’ Councillor Robert Rams.

The Barnet Big Society Innovation Bank has been launched so that we in Barnet get the biggest bang for our buck. This works by ensuring that the public are primarily involved in the decision-making process of where our money is spent.

From the revenue budget allocated to the Borough of Barnet, the council has set aside £600K to be invested in community-minded projects proposed and delivered by the local populace over the next 3 years.

As the Government’s Big Society agenda gains momentum, local citizens and communities will have more opportunities to take the reins in addressing local issues. Cynics would say that this is just another example of how the Government are transferring costs to the voluntary sector and alleviating themselves of responsibility should anything go wrong. The Government argue that at a time of financial constraint in the public sector, ‘business as usual’ is not an option. Nationwide polls show that the people largely accept this sentiment and which is why we are seeing a great shift in the landscape of public services.

Photo of Nick Hurd MP

Nick Hurd MP

The Minister for Civil Society Nick Hurd MP for Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner patroned the scheme with an appearance and furthered the Big Society notion stating “too much power has been taken away from local Government and centralised. The transference of power back to the community is a big weapon every MP knows about.” He continued to eulogise the principles of the Big Society before changing focus to the people within the room, “Seize the opportunity in the challenge to test the notion that local communities know best.” This statement seemed to underpin the scheme’s true value to us in Barnet. For time immemorial many have exalted their wisdom in criticising the ‘powers that be’ in the administration of taxes with countless schemes suggested as superior models to those implemented. Not because of intellectual superiority but of local knowledge.

Well this is our opportunity to prove this, one never given to our forefathers and like our recent vote on the Alternative Vote, one which may never see again for generations if at all.

Photo of Councillor Andrew Harper

Councillor Andrew Harper

The Interim Leader of the Council, Councillor Andrew Harper stated that the introduction of the bank was part of the ongoing realignment in the relationships between the Council and the people and Not-for-profit organisations and charities. He stated ‘the council is not the single depository of wisdom in the borough’ which requires no convincing on my part. He continued by saying ‘you are better at judging the effectiveness of grants and so it is your ideas not ours which will drive the scheme, ideas which will be properly supported by the Council and turned into practical solutions.’ In a similar vein to Nick Herd he challenged the audience by saying “go on, surprise me”.

Ultimately the new scheme is to galvanise creativity from all sectors of the borough so that local people can innovate and find new solutions for old problems. Ideas which have previously been overlooked are very much on the table should we have the aptitude and the conviction to push them forward.

To summarise how the scheme will work a key initiative outlined in the Big Society Innovation Bank Prospectus is SUSTAINABILITY. ‘We are using grants to kick-start community-led activities that can sustain themselves through new income streams such as charges to clients, trading income and corporate giving, as well as public sector and charitable income.’

The first theme is for new projects that strengthen the bonds within the community or reduce the need for public sector support or intervention.

The second theme is to enable groups or individuals to seize control of existing projects that currently rely on public sector support and run them in such a way they will no longer rely on that support.

The funds are allocated in the form of grants which are available to any individual or group. Unconstituted groups are eligible for grants from £500-£5K and constituted groups are eligible for grants ranging from £500-£50K. A project or scheme must be submitted to the council to be assessed and if successful the funds will appear in a one-off payment devoid of any conditions or external arrangements with the council. If a scheme fails in the application process it can be resubmitted to a later round of assessment.

Have you ever got together with someone to make Barnet a better place?” Councillor Andrew Harper. If you have or haven’t but would like to, the opportunity is there for anyone to put forward the suggestions they believe will make this a stronger and more cohesive community.

Question from audience

Question from audience

For more information –

Posted in Barnet Council, Charities, Community, News, Politics. Comments Off on The Big Society is Alive in Barnet – at the launch in the arts depot.

Wingate & Finchley Football Club Preseason Fixture and Charity presentation

Wingate & Finchley have announce their preseason fixture list for this coming summer. First up is a visit to the Great Britain Maccabiah side at the end of June, and the fixtures build up to testing matches against Uxbridge, Chesham Utd and Dulwich Hamlet. Hamlet were of course the beaten finalists in last season’s Ryman League Cup Final.

The full list is as follows:

Tues 28th June – v GB Maccabiah (at Rowley Lane), kick off TBA
Sat 9th July – v Cockfosters (at The Hive), kick off 3pm
Tues 19th July – v Cadicote (Away), kick off 8pm
Sat 23rd July (Game 1) – v Haringey Borough (Away) , kick off 3pm
Sat 23rd July (Game 2) – v Broxbourne Borough (Away), kick off 3pm
Tues 26th July – v Oxhey Jets (Away), kick off 7:30pm
Sat 30th July – v Berkhamsted (Away), kick off 3pm
Tues 2nd Aug – v Uxbridge (Home), kick off 7:45pm
Sat 6th Aug (Game 1) – v Chesham United (Away), kick off 3pm
Sat 6th Aug (Game 2) – v Leverstock Green (Away), kick off 3pm
Sat 13th Aug – v Dulwich Hamlet (Home), kick off 3pm
Sat 20th Aug – Ryman League Season Starts

W&F FC presenting cheque for charity

Wingate & Finchley Club President Harvey Ackerman and Commercial Director Mike Bayly are pictured handing over a cheque to Hazel Kaye from Jewish Blind and Disabled. The club raised over £2300 for the charity as some of its supporters and staff embarked on a sponsored walk to Waltham Abbey FC’s ground earlier in the year.

Posted in Charities, Community, Sports. Comments Off on Wingate & Finchley Football Club Preseason Fixture and Charity presentation