Finchley Community Magazine March/April 2021 Issue 6

Page 1

o mmunity C F I N C H L E Y




W W W. F I N C H L E Y C O M M U N I T Y.W I X S I T E . C O M / F C M A G




Springtime! Wild About Our Woods: enjoy nature & wellbeing in our local woods



choral group


Choral Society Diane Langleben sings the praises of performing with a group


any years ago, when I was just a girl, my school made a recording at Huddersfield Town Hall. As I recall, my voice was deemed so awful that I did not make it past one or two rehearsals. And that, I thought, was the end of any musical ambition. Fast forward several decades, and having friends who were involved with a variety of singing groups, I thought that I would try again. I love the works that specially suit choirs such as the great oratorios written by Handel, and knew that these were compositions sung by Alyth Choral Society. It was a little daunting going along to that first rehearsal but because the choir does not hold auditions, I was not too nervous. From then on, I was hooked and taking part in my first concert, with orchestral accompaniment, was truly exhilarating. Over the years, as well as performances in north London, I have joined the choir singing in the Netherlands and France. Of course, the pandemic has put paid to concerts for the moment. The last performance was Mendelssohn’s Elijah in December 2019. We even had to abandon planned performances in Dublin, scheduled for spring, 2020. Nevertheless, rehearsals continue weekly by the wonders of Zoom. We are unable to hear anyone other than 2 Finchley Community

the music director, Viv Bellos, because the time lag between computers renders that impossible. However, we have been encouraged to record ourselves and then our wonderful accompanist, Kelvin Thomson, melds the voices together. We are currently rehearsing Handel’s Solomon and all being well we will be singing this ‘live’ in December. I have sung with other choirs, too, and even passed an audition for one of them. However, Alyth Choral Society drew me back because of its friendliness and repertoire. We do not only sing the older ‘classics’. We perform the music of more modern composers such as Bernstein, Gershwin and Weill; we have also sung compositions especially written for our choir, most memorably, those of Julian Dawes and Kelvin Thomson. Rehearsals take place on Tuesday evenings. All being well in a month or two, we will be back at our ‘home’ at the North Western Synagogue, Alyth Gardens, NW11, singing our hearts out face to face. You do not have to be Jewish to join the choir and we welcome anyone with a love of singing. n So why not find out more? The first point of contact is Gill Epstein (via email So don’t be shy — give it a go!

editors letter

H Community FI N C H L E Y





CREATIVE EDITOR Nicola Harrison SUB-EDITOR Diane Langleben DESIGNER Richard Cooke


PRINTER JG Bryson of East Finchley

Special thanks to: My Rich for being totally and unwaveringly awesome in his support and creativity My wonderfully kind volunteer sub-editor Diane My fabulous friend and business coach Zuzana My Dad for knowing I would love creating this My Mum for just always believing in me My Rosa for inspiring me

ello friends!

Welcome to the sixth issue of Finchley Community Magazine. We are celebrating our one-year anniversary of creating this magazine! I often get asked: “What made you start the magazine?” My answer is simple: growing up in Finchley and now living here with my family, the local community has always been important to me. I had a clear vision that I wanted to create a good quality community magazine and a “proud to live in Finchley” community buzz! The support we have for our magazine is just wonderful. I can feel that the community is behind us every step of the way. Every person that I get in touch with is always so pleased to be a part of what we do and excited to see their contribution in the magazine. Thank you so much for all your support! Our magazine is free, and in order for us to flourish, we rely upon advertising. Please do tell your family, friends, work colleagues and local community about us. If you are a local business, why not consider advertising with us?


Finchley Community 3

Lease extension Edward Kay, Squires Estates, explains some of the facts


easehold reform is afoot but for now there are many things to consider if you own a leasehold property or are interested in purchasing one. Historically, new leases tended to be for 99 or 125 years, although more commonly they are now for 250 or possibly even 999 years. Extending a lease can be a complicated, drawn-out process, but most importantly, it can be costly. However, there are certain things, you can do to limit this cost and therefore the impact the lease length has on the value of your property and its saleability. First and foremost, try not to let your lease run down too much and especially below 80 years when it becomes more expensive to extend it then. There are two ways you can extend your lease: the non-statutory way or the statutory way. The non-statutory way is a simple process whereby you approach your freeholder, ask their terms for the cost of the extension (the premium) and if terms can be agreed between you, have your respective solicitors complete the process. The statutory way, as you might expect, is more complicated and can usually only be carried out once you have owned the property for at least two years. The first part of the process is to have the lease extension valued by your own surveyor and then have a solicitor serve a Section 42 Notice on the freeholder. In all likelihood, the freeholder would want

to have their own valuation which you would have to pay for and, furthermore, you would be responsible for their legal costs too. Once the freeholder’s valuation has been carried out it is down to the parties to agree the cost of the premium and then have the solicitors complete the extension. If terms can’t be agreed, the case goes to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal (LVT) where each side is responsible for their own costs. Even though mortgage lenders are willing to lend on leases with at least 80 years remaining, prospective buyers like to see leases for more than 100 years and are usually reluctant to purchase properties with shorter leases unless discounted, if at all. If you want to sell your property and it has a lease that might need extending but don’t want to go through the process yourself, you can serve a Section 42 Notice on the freeholder once you have exchanged contracts, and this can then be assigned to the buyer. The buyer would then inherit the right to extend the lease without having to wait two years. Alternatively, it is sometimes possible to pay for a lease extension out of the proceeds of the sale. n Edward Kay is a director of Squires Estates and can be contacted at edward@ for more information.


Contents Alyth Choral Society

2 Subeditor, Diane Langleben

Thank goodness for our shops! 6 Actress, Harriet Thorpe

Stephens House & Gardens 10 The beauty of trees

Artsdepot: You, Me, the World and Barnet 12 PR officer, Sophie Wright

The gut/brain connection

16 Nutritionist, Thalia Pellegrini


26 Wild About Our Woods 30 Founder, Janine Young


32 Founder, Nikki Sender Glantz

NO2PLASTICSN2 34 Founder, Ann Inglis

Farm London

36 Founder, Mehmet Salih

Religious celebrations

Coping with anxiety

20 Therapist, Kemi Omijeh

38 Easter, Mavis Crispin 40 Passover, Diane Langleben 41 Ramadan, Maysoun

Barnet Refugee Service

N2 United

We Are Grow

Life as a local councillor

Zest Kitchen

Transforming your mindset

22 SM officer, Julene Brown

26 Lucy Hollis & Heather Hatton 29 Founder, Saskia Goldman

42 Founder, Nick Allen 44 Councillor, Arjun Mittra

46 Business coach, Zuzana Taylor

Finchley Community 5

harriet thorpe

Thank goodness for our shops! Harriet Thorpe shares her love and gratitude for some of Finchley’s independent retailers


ocal shops have kept me going throughout these challenging times. They represent the perfect emblem of our sense of community and the caring within it which has been reignited. A year ago, I’d never have found the warm aroma of freshly baked sourdough so therapeutic, or that succulent sausages would be all I needed to get me through the dreary winter days. And yet, now more than ever, I have found myself relying on local businesses to provide the antidote. Whether it be butchers, bakers or cappuccino makers, the sprawling streets of Finchley are sprinkled with gems: the local shops that I too am guilty of having taken for granted. But no more! Not only are you sure to find something delectable to delight the senses and tingle the tastebuds, but these shops now provide some of our only regular social interactions ― albeit at two metres apart ― and have become unofficial community hubs at a time when fellow feeling and sympathy are so dearly needed.

Take, for instance, Midhurst Butchers, based in Fortis Green. A friendly, family butchers upon which I have relied for my meaty requirements for over 23 years. Is there anything more comforting to the eyes, when traditions and routines are so distant and changed, than the almost bygone sight of those smiling men in their white overalls? “Don’t be shy, come inside”, they welcome, as they slice up and slap down a helping of your necessities to be enjoyed over the week. Then we have Margot Bakery in East Finchley. Opening its doors in 2016, today its queues are long enough to make Madame Tussauds jealous! The speciality is sourdough ― savoury and sweet ― and the founder, Michelle Eshkeri, has been so successful with her innovative and thoughtful recipes that she had to write a whole book of them in 2019 (Modern Sourdough) just to stop people asking for her secrets. What’s more, she gives away her sourdough starter in exchange for a small donation, the proceeds of which are all Finchley Community 7

independent shops

“Just the generous spirit we need to uplift us in these trying times, and this time, I don’t mean gin!” shared with local charities. Just the generous spirit we need to uplift us in these trying times, and this time, I don’t mean gin! Last, but certainly far from least, there’s Da Vincenzo: a family-run Italian café and deli in North Finchley, popular among locals for its fresh, traditional produce and real Italian coffee ― the stronger the better! When much of life is grey and flattened, stepping briefly into Da Vincenzo’s vibrant Mediterranean stage set is a revivifying oasis of colour, flavour and sun. The staff embody Italian charm at its best: 8 Finchley Community

Margot Bakery

a welcoming familiarity that makes one feel immediately at home. Safety is paramount to the proprietors, but entry is nearly irresistible when faced with the crunchy cantuccini, authentic pasta and mouth-watering mozzarella. Always with the interests of the client at heart, many of these businesses have responded to our changing demands and needs. Michelle has broadened Margot Bakery’s range to include groceries and sundries such as eggs from Rookery Farm, milk/dairy from Estate Dairy, coffee beans from Climpson & Sons, as well as fresh fruit and vegetables. She is now providing not only delicious, “frivolous” delicacies that people want, but also items which customers need. Margot Bakery is changing its role from local business to pillar of the community in these trying

harriet thorpe

times. In the same vein, Da Vincenzo has launched a takeaway menu so that we can now enjoy a little piece of Italy in the comfort of our own homes. We have faced so many tragedies and challenges over the past year, and probably many remain ahead. However, we are learning new things about our environment and the potential for fulfilment that exists around us, at our very fingertips. As I drive around the tree-lined Finchley roads, I notice what has always been there but was so easily overlooked: the wonderful diversity, unity and creativity that solidifies our community connections. Before the pandemic, life’s preoccupations could limit our interactions with those around us to mere rushed and perfunctory encounters. Now, honest and true exchanges are the highlight of our days

and our local, independent, businesses glow with a new lustre as harbours of the sincere camaraderie from which we benefit so greatly. So, a big thank-you to our wonderful local shops; we are so very grateful to those who have been there when we needed them the most. Happily, I’ve got more shop highlights and spotlights to come! n Harriet Thorpe is an actress who has enjoyed a successful film, television and stage career. Best known for her roles in Absolutely Fabulous, The Brittas Empire, French & Saunders, and West End musicals such as Wicked, Mamma Mia and Les Misérables, she can be seen four times weekly on the Wonderbirds online talk show, amazingwonderbirds. com, and will be appearing again on your TV screens soon! Finchley Community 9

The beauty of trees Hungarian oak Quercus frainetto: one of the giants on the estate

Alison Dean’s relationship with Stephens House & Gardens began around 30 years ago as the favourite playground for her two sons. The family spent many happy hours exploring the grounds, chasing each other up and down the gardens around the trees with the boys laughing and shouting. Then they started helping with litter picking, tidying the playground and trying to contribute to the upkeep of the gardens. In 1998 she started volunteering in the Bothy Garden as it was restored from an overgrown jungle by a happy band of like-minded people, some of whom remain personal friends. After several years being a Bothy gardener, Alison was approached to become a trustee with Avenue House Estate Trust. The position added a gardener’s voice to the board, not only for the Bothy Garden but for the whole estate at a time when the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) work on restoring the estate got underway. She was appointed chairman of the trust over three years ago to assist in the final stages of the HLF work and other initiatives such as the Green Flag award. 10 Finchley Community

Alison Dean, chairman of Avenue House Estate Trust, describes some of her favourite trees


s has been shown in the current situation, the restorative benefits of the gardens at Stephens House are welcomed locally. Talking with some of the community, many of which are regular day-to-day visitors, the discussion often ends with the same conclusion: the beauty of the gardens is centred around the collection of trees we are lucky to have and enjoy. The trees that made up the original arboretum were collected by Henry ‘Inky’ Stephens in the 1870s. Many of these trees remain and several have grown to be magnificent specimens. Having stopped people and suggested that they look at the trees, I have seen the wonder spread across their faces when they appreciate the size and beauty of the tree before them. My pleasure when walking the grounds is enhanced by the variety of trees and how they change in appearance season to season. The different leaf shapes such as on the cut-leaf oak by the pond, the colour from the Judas tree and cherry blossoms in spring, the autumn colours of the beech trees, the vivid red berries on the yews in winter, the autumn fruit on damsons, medlar and apple trees, these all bring me joy. Volunteering in the grounds for the past few years has allowed me to appreciate all the trees but I have chosen to describe some of my personal favourites.

stephens house & gardens Blue Atlas cedar Cedrus atlantica glauca Standing 17 metres high with a wide canopy, blue leaves and stone-like pine cones, the Atlas cedar dominates the middle lawn. Undoubtedly, this is one of the most popular trees in the grounds, providing shade in summer and a space beneath its canopy that children love to explore. It seems to have a warmth about it that draws you it to sit or stand under its imposing branches.

Wellingtonia Sequoiadendron giganteum The Wellingtonia redwood is hidden away near the boundary with Spencer Close and across from the main path around Monkey Hill. It is another of the giants in the gardens reaching a height of approximately 21 metres; it has a formidable deep red trunk and quietly dominates the sky in that corner of the park. With its lofty canopy, you can lose yourself underneath it when looking up to the sky. We have other redwoods in the grounds, but this example leaves me with a sense of awe.

Californian redwood Sequoia sempervirens Opposite the wooden gates of the Bothy Garden at the top of a short slope stands the Californian redwood with a perfectly perpendicular trunk (approximately 23 metres) pointing to the sky and with a warm red glow from its bark. It is a tree that you can overlook because its position away from the main paths almost makes it a secret. It has a suitably imposing presence above the bog garden and seems to complete the small, grassed area alongside the bog garden. When I sit on the bench close by, it seems as if the branches draped down around the trunk are trying to disguise it or hide itself away. Finchley Community 11

xxxxxx take stock exchange

You, Me, the World & Barnet Sophie Wright interviews Anna Smith about an exciting new project based at the artsdepot in North Finchley Sophie: Can you tell me about your project? Anna: We are a community

storytelling company called take stock exchange and we have teamed up with artsdepot to deliver a unique storytelling project with people all over Finchley. Since mid-January, we have been meeting people of all ages and walks of life to share their stories, experiences, opinions and ideas about living and working in Finchley and Barnet. We run bespoke workshops, both online and with phone calls to stimulate the conversations happening locally. We then team up with a musician and create short stories which reflect the conversations during each session. We then meet each group again and tell some of the stories we’ve prepared and facilitate further conversations about the themes that emerge. This gives participants an opportunity to hear from others with whom they might not usually interact to explore, celebrate and question the past, present and future for themselves, each other and the places they call home. It increases connection, empathy and empowerment among different members of the community. 12 Finchley Community

At the end of the project, we are planning to create a mini-podcast series that will bring together all the stories we’ve gathered, enabling the wider community to hear them and connect with the experiences of their neighbours. As we continue to grapple with our new socially-distanced lives, we strongly believe that storytelling and conversation have the power to enable communities to express themselves, rebuild connections and start to heal. Sophie: When did you begin and what has it been like? Anna: We started the project in January

with our first few workshops. So far, the conversations have been amazing. We’ve heard from people about the many challenges brought about by Covid-19 and the isolating experience of lockdown. We’ve heard about all the ways in which people have been supporting each other and we’ve seen first-hand, how important it is for people to come together, albeit online, to share their experiences, maintain their connections and build hope for the future. Most of our workshops are taking place through group video calls. However, there are many people who can’t access this kind

artsdepot of session and therefore we are trying to find alternative ways for people to take part, either through phone calls or through workshops taking place on WhatsApp. We will be continuing to run workshops until about the middle of April and are excited to hear from all the other members of the community who will be taking part. Sophie: How does the podcast you are producing fit in with the project? Anna: The aim of producing a podcast

at the end of this project is to enable the wider community in Barnet and across London to hear from their neighbours and to engage in the conversations that are happening at this unique moment in our history. The podcast isn’t supposed to represent the pinnacle of the project, which is fundamentally about the expression and exchange of stories across the local community. However, we hope that it will amplify the voices of those involved, so that their experiences, perspectives, opinions and ideas and the collective story of Finchley that they comprise has a space to breath in the wider world. We are hoping that the podcast will include a combination of short stories, which we’re gathering through the workshops, original music composed to accompany the stories, and a patchwork of recordings taken directly from some of our workshop sessions. Watch this space for the podcast, which will be coming out around June.

Sophie: Can you tell me about a couple of the workshops? Anna: We were doing a workshop with

a group of children and young people one morning. In answer to one of our questions, we heard a family voice saying: “You’re my favourite deputy”. Suddenly, we see Woody from Toy Story on Zoom. He’d been brought into the conversation by the youngest member on the call. Woody ended up staying for the rest of the session, along with a broader collection of soft toys who all had interesting things to add to the conversation. In another workshop, with a group of young adults, we were surprised to find ourselves and everyone else on the call spontaneously dancing in our little boxes on the screen, momentarily overcome by joy and a need to let go all together. n You, Me, the World & Barnet is part of Here and Now, a new art project creating 40 commissioned works in arts centres across the country. The aim is to give an intimate snapshot of communities in the 21st century. Here and Now is supported by Arts Council England and the National Lottery. Please visit for more information.

Sophie Wright (pictured) is the marketing and public relations officer for artsdepot, working on promoting events, activities, classes, and the organisation itself to the wider public, Anna Smith is a producer working with take stock exchange.


he plight of young people trying to get on the housing ladder is well known. The

days of being able to borrow 100% of the property price disappeared in the fog of the 2008/9 financial crisis. Furthermore, the cost of housing has risen dramatically, increasing by 1,145% since 1980 and predicted to rise a further 17% over the next decade. OGR Stock Denton is seeing more young people funding first home purchases through the “Bank of Mum and Dad”. But before handing over a significant sum to your children so they can purchase a property, there are several considerations to prevent a bitter family dispute developing in the future. For example, your son or daughter could be buying a property with their cohabiting partner. If their relationship ends, you may find it difficult

to recoup your money if the loan and property purchase has not been structured to protect your interests as a lender. The top three things to consider when lending or borrowing from the ‘Bank of Mum and Dad’ are: 1. Ask your property solicitor to structure the loan to ensure you are repaid If you have decided to lend, rather than gift, house deposit money, your solicitor will advise you to draw up a loan agreement detailing how the loan is to be repaid. You can also put a legal charge over the property in the same way a bank would if it were providing a mortgage. This will give you the power to sell the property (as a last resort) if your son or daughter and their partner do not repay you, provided there is sufficient equity in the property at the time of sale.

© I S TO C K


The top three things to consider according to Michael Stock, partner and head of the property team, at law firm, OGR Stock Denton

advertorial You can also choose to have your name registered on the property’s title,

3. Have your property-law solicitor explain the legal implications of being a guarantor or

which would give you more control. You and your child and their partner/ spouse can purchase the property as tenants in common, with you holding a proportionate share of the property related to the size of the loan. For example, as tenants in common, your son or daughter could hold 40% of the property, their partner 40% and you 20%.

taking out a joint mortgage If you do not have the money available to gift or loan part or all of your children’s house deposits, you could consider being a guarantor on their mortgage. Although fewer banks allow for guarantors these days, a mortgage broker will undoubtedly be able to find a willing lender. If you choose to be a guarantor, you must have the lending agreement checked by an experienced conveyancing lawyer and ensure they explain fully the small print relating to your obligations to repay the mortgage if your child defaults on their mortgage payments. You can also take out a joint mortgage with your child and their spouse/partner. This will result in you owning part of the property. Some banks will insist that you are aged under 70 at the end of the mortgage term and others will only provide a joint mortgage for interestonly loans.

2. Make sure you understand the tax implications if you are gifting the deposit money You may choose to gift your children money for house deposits with no expectation of repayment. While this is a wonderful gesture, it can have significant consequences in terms of tax. Inheritance tax is payable if your estate is worth £325,000 after your death. Married couples can “inherit” each other’s tax-free allowance, raising the amount to £650,000. And if you leave your family home to your direct descendants, you can benefit from the residence nil rate tax band of £175,000. You can give away £3,000 per year tax-free. However, given that the average bank of mum and dad loan/gift is £24,100, rising to £31,000 in London, it is crucial to invest in estate/tax planning advice so you can gift house deposit money without incurring inheritance tax at a later date. The private client team at OGR Stock Denton can work closely with your accountant to also plan for secondhome capital gains tax if you choose to own part of your child’s property as a tenant in common.

How can OGR Stock Denton help? The above is simply a brief overview of the legal considerations and implications of the “Bank of Mum and Dad”. There are many other considerations such as: • Whether or not a lending parent may have an interest in the property under trust law • Consumer Credit Act issues should the relationship between the parents and their child or their child’s partner break down • Allegations of undue influence in the case of a future dispute developing You can also watch our Bank of Mum and Dad Webinar: watch?v=KWjERD9pIHU n For further advice please email: akabani@ or call on 020 8349 5501.

the gut/brain connection


How what we eat affects our mood Thalia Pellegrini suggests how to eat wisely


pring is approaching and with it, hopefully, a lifting of our collective mood. Winter in the UK with its short, often grey days, can be so challenging for many. Add in a pandemic and there has been a reported surge in those struggling with their mental health. Food is a great source of comfort, not least when we’ve all been stuck indoors for months on end. But food is also information for our body, and while we might be cheered by a slab of chocolate cake or feel our mood lift when presented with a favourite meal, our mood and our diet are also connected in other ways.

16 Finchley Community

The gut/brain connection is an evergrowing area of research. “Butterflies in your tummy” or “I’m too nervous to eat,” are familiar to many, as is the impact on digestion when we are stressed. What we also know is that communication between the gut and the brain is a two-way street. The brain affects the gut, and vice versa. Our second brain Often referred to as the “second brain,” our gut is the only organ to have its own independent nervous system, consisting of an intricate network of 100 million neurons embedded in the gut wall. The gut microbiome is an ecosystem of “good” and

thalia pellegrini

© I S TO C K

They also often contain fermented foods, a source of prebiotics. Prebiotics are compounds in food that induce the growth or activity of beneficial microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi. One recent study was explicitly designed to explore the link between diet and depression; it showed that of the 67 adults with relatively poor-quality diets and moderate to severe depression (under medical treatment), those who followed a healthy diet had significant improvements in depression and anxiety symptoms.

“bad” bacteria. A balance between the two is preferable, because when “bad” bacteria dominate, problems with our health can begin to show. And that includes with our mental health. Studies have compared “traditional” diets, like the Mediterranean and traditional Japanese diet, to a typical “Western” diet and have shown that the risk of depression is 25% to 35% lower in those who eat a traditional diet. Scientists account for this difference because these traditional diets tend to be high in vegetables, fruits, unprocessed grains, and fish and seafood, and to contain only modest amounts of lean meats and dairy.

Are our microbes telling us something? One emerging field of research called “psychobiotics” explores how microbes ― the microorganisms in the gut ― might directly affect our mood. The more of the good guys, the better. For example, take serotonin, a feel-good neurotransmitter. Around 90% of serotonin is produced in the gut. It is highly influenced by the billions of “good” bacteria that make up our gut microbiome. It is made with the help of tryptophan, an amino acid which is found in nuts, eggs and meats such as chicken and turkey. Neurotransmitters protect the lining of the intestines and ensure they provide a strong barrier against toxins and “bad” bacteria; they also limit inflammation, improve how well we absorb nutrients from food and activate neural pathways that travel directly between the gut and the brain. Our bacteria may even be sending “requests” to the brain. There are many families or species of bacteria in the gut. One major species, bifidobacterium, loves to munch on fibre. When we eat fibre, bifidobacterium produces butyrate, an Finchley Community 17

the gut/brain connection essential metabolite in the human colon. Butyrate can make its way to the brain and improve mood. So, we might crave fibre because we’ve learned a Pavlovian response to that feel-good feeling. On the flip side, there are some types of common bacteria, lactobacillus for example, that can manipulate the opioid receptors in the brain to produce something like a shot of morphine. What feeds the lactobacillus species? Well, some really like sugar. So, next time we are craving something sweet, we could try blaming our bacteria!

even more friendly microbes. We should try to include some of these in our diet: green (unripe) bananas, leeks, onions, garlic and Jerusalem artichokes. We can obtain fibre from other foods, too. Options include wholegrains such as oats, brown rice and pulses. Eating probiotic foods is also good for the friendly bacteria. We don’t need to reach for a supplement. We can buy sauerkraut, kimchi or kefir; they help populate the gut with a variety of “good” bacteria. Start with small amounts and build up.

Feeding our friendly bacteria How often have we been told to eat the rainbow? I know it is an old chestnut, but fruit and vegetables are a great source of fibre, and the more different types and colour the better. Remember, they are feeding the good guys. Fruit and vegetables are also a source of antioxidants ― adding berries alone to the diet can lower the risks of depression and mental decline. Vegetables are also a source of prebiotics. They are the stuff our good bacteria like to munch on to encourage the production of

What we eat matters While complex mental health challenges require a multi-disciplinary approach, diet can and should be part of that. And for those who may just find their mood a little lower than they’d like, upping the intake of daily fibre, shopping with colour in mind and incorporating some probiotic foods into the diet are all simple ways to give the gut the fuel it needs to support good brain health, too. It is important to stress, however, that those struggling with depression or anxiety should consult their GP. n

Thalia Pellegrini is a registered nutritional therapist (FdSc DipION BANT CNHC). Known as the Knackered Mums Nutritionist, she works with women to resolve health issues ranging from PMS to perimenopause. She creates bespoke nutrition plans that work for a mum’s busy lifestyle, whether she wants to improve her energy, lose weight or just have a better relationship with food. Follow her on Instagram @thaliapellegrini_nutrition for recipes and health tips. At you can subscribe to emails and be the first to know about free online classes plus receive your FREE gift: A Fantastic Five-Minute Breakfasts recipe collection.

18 Finchley Community

WE OFFER A BROAD SCOPE OF LEGAL SERVICES TO MEET ALL YOUR NEEDS. We believe that we are the obvious choice for our clients who are pressed for time and under pressure to resolve legal issues satisfactorily, with speed and cost effectiveness.

020 8445 9898

Property Commercial Litigation Family Probate Dispute resolution And many other skills North Finchley

family wellbeing

COPING WITH ANXIETY nxiety is on the rise, or so the headlines tell us. It is hard to be sure if anxiety is actually on the rise or if there is simply a greater awareness of it. Over the past year, the global pandemic has probably impacted on many of us mentally and triggered some anxiety. This is to be expected and is actually healthy; yes, you read that correctly, healthy. We tend to focus on the symptoms of anxiety rather than the function of the anxiety because the symptoms can be unbearable and interfere with our day-to-day lives. I will cover some of the symptoms of anxiety in this article but it is important to note that anxiety serves a function of protecting us; it is also a response and a way to cope with stress. So, in a global health crisis that has caused much stress, anxiety will be triggered because we want to feel safe and have a way to cope with stress. Understanding this is a step towards overcoming anxiety. 20 Finchley Community

Anxiety is one of the top three conditions with which I work, in parents, children and young people. However, I know anxiety well because I am the daughter of a highly anxious mum. Much of her anxiety behaviours seemed to be those of a cautious careful mother doing what mothers do. Yet as the daughter, I felt the intensity of her precautionary checks and questions. This early experience brings an added depth to my knowledge. I know how anxiety can affect our daily lives and steal those moments you are meant to be enjoying. How it can affect our thoughts so much that we experience the world and things around us through an anxiety filter. Such thoughts can trigger an emotional response and influence the choices we make. We could start to change our behaviour and routine to fit around our anxiety; this should not be the case and does not have to be so. I also understand anxiety in children, the causes, triggers and behaviours.

© I S TO C K


Have you experienced anxiety? Kemi Omijeh discusses the condition and how to cope

kemi omijeh The most common way children communicate their anxiety is through their behaviour. That behaviour is usually via avoidance of the very thing they are anxious about. Children can also pick up anxious behaviours from the people around them and what’s going on in the world. Children can find it extremely frustrating when they are not able find the right words for their anxiety, which can then result in more anxious and challenging behaviours. Their behaviours are then often misunderstood for something else when deep down they are anxious and having difficulty explaining this. The most common questions I get asked about anxiety are: • How do I know if it’s anxiety? • How can I support my child with his/her anxiety? • Is anxiety something I must live with? To answer these questions, anxiety significantly affects everyday life and can

manifest itself in physical symptoms, which often do not respond to treatment or only appear when anxiety strikes. Examples could be stress headaches, stomach pain, sleepless nights or restlessness. However, it should be noted that everybody is different and there are individual physical responses other than the examples given. Mindfulness and deep breathing exercises can be a good tool to respond to the physical symptoms caused by anxiety. When we are anxious, we are in a heightened state; deep breathing gives the brain that much needed oxygen it needs to calm down. Mindfulness can be as simple as finding a spot to focus on in the distance and counting our breaths. This act connects our brains with the here and now, and distracts those anxious thoughts momentarily. To address anxiety on a longer-term basis, some work with a qualified professional is advantageous. Anxiety needs exposure and recognition. First, acknowledge the anxiety and then speak to a professional about it and ask for help. There is no need to struggle in silence. n FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Kemi Omijeh is registered with the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. She has worked with children and families for over 15 years, supporting them to prioritise their mental health. Her aim is to make mental health support accessible and flexible to suit a family’s individual needs. As a result, she has developed an online course to support parents and equip them with practical strategies to help children with their anxiety. For further information you can contact Kemi at or visit

Finchley Community 21

community kindness

Giving newcomers to Barnet a helping hand Julene Brown, social media officer, gives an insight into the work of the Barnet Refugee Service

22 Finchley Community

barnet refugee service


arnet Refugee Service (BRS) supports refugees and asylum seekers to improve their quality of life and promotes physical, social and mental wellbeing. The journey that asylum seekers take to enter a new country is often difficult and traumatic. This journey doesn’t end once they have reached a safe country; BRS is here to help them become equal and valued members of their new communities. Why do refugees and asylum seekers need BRS help? Escaping persecution, disruption and wars, many refugees and asylum seekers have experienced torture, trauma and loss. The route to safety is risky, dangerous and often very long. Leaving behind all that they were familiar with, they come to the UK facing many additional challenges. Despite this hardship, refugees and asylum seekers have a remarkable degree of both resilience and resistance to any difficulties caused by their forced migration. BRS knows that in a supportive and safe environment, they can adapt and rebuild their lives. What effect has the pandemic had on the asylum process? Since the outbreak of coronavirus, asylum seekers who are waiting for a response to their applications have been accommodated in hotels and hostels around London. Elsewhere in the UK, disused army barracks are used as accommodation. The usual dispersal of asylum seekers has slowed down considerably, meaning longer stays in initial accommodation.

Some of the challenges they face while in initial accommodation are: • Relying on food provided by the managing companies, which can be inadequate and lacking nutrition • Lack of access to health services • No technological equipment to access schooling or other online programmes What are BRS services and how have they been adapted during the pandemic? Working with other organisations, BRS has been able to provide some of those clients most in need with clothing, food vouchers and importantly, the means for their children to attend online school. BRS has also partnered with local foodbanks to allow allocated days for refugees and asylum seekers to access this essential aid. BRS offers a wide range of services that are too many to mention in this article. They are all available online and include: Advice and Information: clients often need advice on welfare benefit, housing, health, education, employment or immigration problems. BRS holds a quality assurance certificate (the Advice Quality Standard) and is registered with the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner to provide immigration advice (Level 1). Therapeutic services: mental health services for asylum seekers and refugees is essential to improve their quality of life and well-being. BRS offers counselling to adult individuals, to families and to youth clients. Counsellors are bilingual and can communicate with clients in their own language if they are not confident speaking English. Finchley Community 23

community kindness Youth Project: the BRS youth programme provides holistic emotional and psychosocial support as well as other activities for young asylum seekers and refugees aged 13 to 21 years. The primary aim is to show solidarity with young refugees and asylum seekers by creating a safe space in which everybody feels supported. There are a range of online activities to give them purpose and skills; for example, online cooking lessons, virtual fitness classes and a youth club are available. Tuition: refugee children face the challenges of disrupted education, cultural confusion and lack of knowledge of English. BRS provides a tuition/ homework club for refugee children, throughout the year. The club provides three hours’ weekly maths, English language and science lessons. ESOL: adequate English skills are vital for the new arrivals’ progress and achievement in everyday life, study and/or employment. BRS has been an accredited exam centre for Trinity College London since 2017. It also runs the Trinity ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) course for students with a minimum entry level 1. Alongside this there is also an informal ESOL course which is for students preentry to entry level 3. Ecotherapy Programme: BRS has an allotment that provides clients with much needed outdoor space, and a place to learn gardening skills. The Sowing Seeds Therapy Project promotes good mental and physical wellbeing of refugees and asylum seekers through outdoor activities in a green environment. The project has a 24 Finchley Community

major positive impact on the client group, tackling their social isolation, encouraging integration and improving community cohesion. Volunteers: BRS is lucky to have more than 118 volunteers from all backgrounds and walks of life. The organisation relies on their talent, skill, passion and creativity to further its mission. Their dedication, energy and enthusiasm is invaluable in helping BRS make a positive difference; BRS is proud of the volunteers’ contribution, which help make BRS the unique organisation that it is. The importance of collaboration is also valued at BRS. Without the help of other organisations, volunteers, local places of worship, food banks and individuals, it would not have been possible to offer so much support.

“All the time I ask myself a question. When will the time come that all people will have a peaceful life with lots of love? The people of the world respect and know each other as humans. All people do their best to help each other to improve their lives. I hope that day comes very quickly. When we all have a calm life and be educated to be independent. In that time, we will surely have a perfect and complete life.” A poem written by one of the ESOL students on the theme of ‘Hope’. n

Dr David Hillel Optometrist

DOptom DipCLP FCOptom Bsc(Hons) MPhil

enjoy better vision children’s sight care • advanced clinical investigations • attention for reading difficulty care & advice on all eyesight matters • efficient service • special contact lens fitting and care wide range of new frame designs • help in low vision • appointments from 8am to 7pm

care how you see and how you look

0208 444 2233 119 High Road, East Finchley, N2 8AG

Get GROWing!

A new initiative is helping children learn about themselves as well as helping others, as Lucy Hollis and Heather Hatton explain

George Lamb


aunched in May 2019 at the Totteridge Academy, Grow is a not-for-profit organisation that works in schools and communities to promote mental wellbeing, physical health and a more hands-on relationship with the natural world. It is the brainchild of former TV presenter, George Lamb, who wanted an organisation dedicated to giving young people the tools they need to succeed. It would have a broad range of activities, from mindfulness to farming, philosophical thinking to sport and boxing. Planting a seed in the ground is the starting point for Grow. Digging a hole in the earth at the Grow farm begins a journey of self-investment for the children, together with staff and families. That little seed goes on to transform into something nutritious and tasty in the school canteen, cooked in the kitchen by the Grow chef and served up to hundreds of hungry students and local community. Grow’s mission is to help young people and their families to be well fed in the hope that with enough care and nutrition, they will thrive. A core pillar of the Grow curriculum is “Ground”, taught outside on the Grow farm. This module is aimed at teaching kids where their food comes from, how to grow it, which foods aid concentration and health, and more holistically empower them to make better food-related decisions.

Part of the purpose of the Grow farm is to demonstrate how open green spaces can be used more effectively and the positive impact this has on the local environment, wildlife, education and culture. Grow aims to give a sustainable, productive vision for what can be achieved in an urban space, delivering economic, ecological and community benefits. At Grow, regenerative farming principles are used; these care for the soil, which in turn puts nutrients into the foods that are harvested. Healthy soil means healthy vegetables, resulting in healthy consumers. Regenerative farming is also a shift in intention ― from making money to being kind. Reducing food poverty

Currently, there is a food crisis across the country. Food poverty needs to be reduced in a sustainable manner with a collaborative mindset that sees both educational and institutional bodies coming together. School is the ideal place to begin the process; the farm brings in members of the local community as volunteers, and school becomes a space that grants access to a 27

healthier way of living. It is a multi-layered issue; Grow creates a multi-layered solution. It is hoped that the Grow farm will become a national benchmark for teaching young people where their food comes from and the importance of protecting the natural world. Grow’s core modules, Ground, Think and Flow, are all anchored by the desire to empower schoolchildren to make better decisions for themselves and their communities. Grow is helping the next generation to forge a more sustainable and less wasteful culture around food. Eating well in childhood is the very foundation stone of equality of opportunity, hence our fusion of classroom, kitchen, gym, and workshop. The solutions are out there; the key is to make them happen. Helping children learn about themselves

Grow is creating a space where young people have the opportunity to learn about themselves and their place in the world; how they might implement change in their society through their 28 Finchley Community

own unique set of skills and passions. The programme also gives young people the confidence to realise their full potential. Since 2019, as well as the farm, Grow has started a forest school where students can learn about the outdoors. As part of the school curriculum, 250 students participate each week. Chris Fairbairn, the principal of Totteridge Academy says: “Grow has significantly enhanced the Academy’s culture of responsibility and care ― for ourselves, for one another, and for our environment”. In 2021, Grow will continue to expand; it is about to launch its first cross-school programme, Learning From The Land, bringing the Grow programme to hundreds more students and families across Barnet. The long-term plan is to expand to secondary schools across the country. It has been an extremely challenging year for everyone, but Grow has proved its resilience and, more than ever, its necessity. As threats from around the globe continue to shake our core, Grow gives us all the opportunity to plant a seed, watch it take root and hope for a better future. n Why not visit for more information about Grow and how to get involved. Lucy Hollis is managing director / education manager of Grow and Heather Hatton is office manager.


Adding Zest to your life Saskia Goldman, founder of a new catering business, tells us about her venture


ack in 2017, I decided to go travelling solo to South East Asia, both to volunteer, mainly teaching English, and explore. I fell in love with Vietnam and ended up moving there for two years. I met some incredible local people who showed me the wonders of bright, beautiful, plant-based food. I had the privilege of learning to cook alongside them using traditional Vietnamese methods. The experience ignited a passion that I brought back home with me to north London. I’m proud to say that Zest Kitchen has grown from a seedling idea into a successful fully vegan takeaway and food business in just over a year. Our passion lies in using ethical produce to create delicious, homemade plates that are free of refined sugar. Who are we?

My sister Eve and I work together to create vibrant, plant-based dishes with a South Asian-inspired twist in our home kitchen every weekend. Eve is head of sweet treats and manages the logistics of the business. Our dad, Michael, is head of strategy and can be found delivering meals to our customers’ doors. Working as a family unit is amazing because, instinctively, we know how to support each other and communicate well; it just feels really wholesome and

I’m so thankful for their support. We have also developed a local community of friends and customers growing alongside us, following our journey. Watching our food become integrated into the weekly routines of Finchley locals and hearing their appreciation has kept us going; the sense of community has been really important to all of us throughout the pandemic. What makes us different?

In Vietnam, I lived on local street food, which was always colourful, fresh and aromatic. Many of the recipes date back centuries; we have taken our inspiration from those dishes, but we add modern touches here and there by experimenting with flavour, ingredients and presentation to achieve something new. Our core values include sustainability and cruelty-free cooking and presentation. We are committed to using ethical ingredients and recyclable packaging wherever possible. I think it’s so important to do everything we can to preserve our planet, and this all ties into Zest Kitchen’s mantra of feel-good food, inside and out. n You can follow our journey by visiting Zest Kitchen at to learn more about sampling our food Finchley Community 29


Bee in the Woods: forest school

Why not run wild in our woods? Janine Young, founder of WAOW, gives the lowdown


he benefits of being outdoors in woodland spaces for health and wellbeing has been widely documented. During the past year with our spare time being limited to the local area, many of us have taken to exploring the variety of green spaces we are lucky to have in Barnet. Even during the coolest months, they have given us a feel-good factor as well as healthy complexions! I set up a local charity, Wild About Our Woods (WAOW), to create social opportunities for people to engage with, enjoy and enhance our local woods for mutual wellbeing, especially those who would not consider seeking out woodlands for recreational purposes. The charity has been running local woodland-based 30 Finchley Community

programmes for children and families for the past three years, using the natural environment to engage them and learn together. In the past year alone, over 2,300 people have been supported to feel more connected to nature through the charity’s direct and indirect programmes. Recently, we started to deliver Forest School training to teach more people how to support nature-connection activities locally. The WAOW team has often seen the immense benefits that time in nature brings to children’s wellbeing and confidence; through opening up its Forest School activities for the older generation to enjoy, the team hopes that it’s not just little ones who will enjoy discovering and playing outdoors. By creating two pilot programmes for the over-55s based

wild about our woods in local Barnet woodlands, we will demonstrate to adults how accessing and attending such free resources will benefit their health and wellbeing. The first programme begins this month and is based at the new community garden of Barnwood based at Tarling Road N2. It is funded by the Grange Big Local to provide 12 older residents (aged 55-plus) living in the Grange Big Local area the opportunity to come to the garden. There they will meet, work, play and learn rewarding skills while improving their wellbeing. Participants will be supported to attend weekly, two-hour sessions over a 12-week period. In this eco-therapy and wellbeing pilot, participants will engage in a range of nature-based activities designed specifically for this target group but led by their interests. Activities will work to enhance social, occupational, sensory and physical abilities. We may build bird boxes, cook outdoors or weave bird feeders. In working to contribute towards their immediate local community, the aim is to contribute to their emotional wellbeing through connection with others. The second programme, “Deep shoots, new roots”, will bring children and older adults together with the aim of improving intergenerational relationships. It will provide a variety of explorative play, walking trails, music and nature discovery sessions for adults of grandparent age, and children of reception age, to enjoy together. This has never been undertaken in Barnet and WAOW is excited to be able to pilot it. Loneliness and isolation will be reduced for elderly neighbours by inviting them to join pre-school children in the woods for a relaxed, playful session filled

with tea, campfires, music and laughter. This intergenerational programme is funded by a Barnet Wellbeing Community Grant and will be in partnership with JOY (Joining Old and Young), led by Jenny Kossew. She has wide experience of bringing together the older and younger generations through shared experiences and paired activities to create relationships and friendships based on their core values of respect, empathy and compassion. Providing opportunities for intergenerational learning can help to improve not just communication between older and younger generations, but appreciation and respect on both sides. WAOW uses the similarities and differences of these two generations to foster interaction, connectivity and communication, and encourage both age groups to learn from each other. As the country recovers from the pandemic, our new projects have come at the perfect time to support the wellbeing of local residents. n If you would like to find out how you can take part, please email me: We often offer ideas to support seasonal nature connections on our Facebook page Wild about our woods CIO or on Instagram @waowcio. You can also visit to find out more. Janine Young is the founder and programme manager of WAOW. She was fortunate enough to have been brought up in Woodside Park with access to amazing green spaces in which to explore and play. This has been her driving force in wanting to support other people to make use of local natural places. Finchley Community 31


Saving the planet: every little helps In a perfect world, there would be zero waste. A local entrepreneur, Nikki Sender Glantz has created a business making a difference


ikki Sender Glantz founded Wefil, in November 2019, because she felt that there was too much plastic involved in the weekly shop and wanted to enable people to reduce their plastic consumption. All the products are vegan, biodegradable and produced and packaged without causing harm to the environment. The ethos and values of Wefil are to source products and use suppliers who share its ethical and sustainable vision. Products are organic and locally grown and produced where possible. At present, the company delivers to north and north-west London, as well as by arrangement, to Hertsmere. The plastic problem, is it just that?

Before the pandemic, it was estimated that eight million tons of plastic were dumped in the oceans each year. Lockdown has probably made the situation far worse. The initial rush to buy bottled hand soaps and sanitisers, single use gloves and masks will have increased the amount of plastic piling into the sea. Nikki is determined to minimise the devastation caused by plastic on our planet. She says that the issues are not just about plastic but also the toxic waste from cleaning, beauty and household products that are harming not only our environment but also our health too. Wefil source 32 Finchley Community

effective cleaning products from Sesi, an ethical company, which practises a circular economy, stating: “We are helping our caring communities reduce and reuse, and for us, by refilling detergents, this is a means to a never-ending journey, thinking of the bigger picture”. Wefil started to stock Dorset sea salt that Sesi provides in a big tub. The empty tub will be returned and refilled. Similarly, Wefil’s Greek organic olive oil comes in 20L containers which come straight from the farmer and are refilled after being returned and cleaned Liquids such as shampoo and cleaning solutions are delivered by directly pumping them into the customers’ own bottles on their doorsteps. This cuts out waste because the same bottles can be used indefinitely. Wefil stocks hand-made deodorants, soaps and beauty products, which are made by independent artisan companies. All their products are vegan, without palm oil, parabens, aluminium and sodium lauryl sulphate. Why vegan?

Wefil is not only dedicated to reducing plastic waste but also to increase eco living. Nikki says: “We don’t want to cause harm to animals or the planet we inhabit. Often the two are intertwined. The growth of soya to feed livestock is just one of the

complexities around the food we eat and the climate we are destroying. Soya planted in the rain forests feeds livestock for the milk we drink and meat we eat while destroying the habitats of many animals that live there. Our products promote a vegan diet and lifestyle. We have a recipe page with delicious vegan dishes. Our motto is ‘refill reuse, reduce ‘. So we refill containers, reducing what we take from the earth’s resources. We now stock organic sunflower mince containing only the residue of the sunflower seed after the oil has been extracted, thus not wasting the seed. It makes a sustainable vegan mince, unprocessed and without soya and gluten”. Another ethical, sustainable UK company used by Wefil is Hodmedods, which sells goods such as grains, beans and flours. They are all grown in the UK using traditional farming methods. A particular favourite supplied by Hodmedods is emmer, a British-grown ancient wheat that people can use instead of rice because it is more sustainable. Wefil also orders its chia seeds and quinoa from this company to avoid them being flown from thousands of miles away. Nikki hopes that you will be inspired to take further steps and subscribe to a life more in keeping with eco living. Why not visit where you can find advice and tips to make sustainable changes in your life. n Why not visit where you can find advice and tips to make sustainable changes in your life.

DISPOSABLE COFFEE CUPS: THERE ARE ALTERNATIVES! In the UK we use seven million disposable coffee cups every day. We assume they are just paper and therefore recyclable. Sadly, this is not entirely true. These paper cups are actually lined with a film of non-recyclable plastic to make them waterproof. This means that only one in 400 cups are recycled and can take 30 years to decompose in landfill. As a welcome alternative, Wefil stocks Huski Home travel cups. They are made from repurposed rice husks, thereby not adding to landfill.

Nikki Sender Glantz has chosen to follow her passion by setting up a business that addresses what we eat and how we interact with the planet. She has a supportive husband and two children. Her son is studying for his A levels and runs a small catering company and her daughter, who has Down’s syndrome, is a keen performer with inclusive theatre company, Chickenshed.

Finchley Community 33

plastic free

Why not say no to plastic! Local community group NO2PLASTICSN2 is on a mission to eliminate the sale of single-use plastics locally, as Ann Inglis explains


avid Attenborough’s groundbreaking series, Blue Planet II, has made us all acutely aware that we are smothering our precious planet in ever-increasing amounts of noncompostable single use plastic (SUP). We alone are responsible for the choices we make. As consumers we must stop buying products that are, or are wrapped in, SUPs. In May 2018, the three founders of NO2PLASTICSN2, Ruth Anders, Joanne Westgate and Ann Inglis wrote a letter that was published in East Finchley’s newspaper, The Archer. The Archer featured the cause giving it the killer headline ‘Let’s make East Finchley plastic free!’. The response demonstrated the desire to make a difference is widespread and deeply felt. Ruth, Joanne and Ann started meeting in August and attracted an increasing number of volunteers. A month later, the beautiful logo created by their in-house graphic designer, Vanessa Broomfield, had been adopted, and a path forward trialled, plotted and agreed. NO2PLASTICSN2 began by concentrating on shops, starting conversations with owners and managers about what they could do to reduce their, and their customers’, use of SUPs. The 34 Finchley Community

group gave the shops signs displaying their support for the campaign. The organisation’s co-founder, Joanne, is a design and technology teacher at Compton School. She manufactured attention grabbing, timberbacked, non-plastic signs that can still be seen in many East Finchley shops. On a cold, sunny Saturday in May 2019, the group set up the first of their (weather permitting) Saturday stalls to take the message “Refuse, Resist, Reduce, Reuse, Repair and when these fail, Recycle”, directly to N2 residents. They were delighted to find there were few “It’s impossible why try?” responses while many replied enthusiastically: “What can we do?” NO2PLASTICSN2 also took its message to the East Finchley Summer Festival in

no2plasticsn2 June 2019. The lively stall attracted a great deal of attention and interest. Festival visitors signed a petition, new customers signed up to the local milkman, small items were sold to promote the cause and there were some terrific conversations with people who wanted to know more. Despite having a full-time job, working from home and having no experience of website development, Andy Niewiarowski made creative use of his lockdown. The result of his hard work was that in last September’s Archer, NO2PLASTICSN2 announced that its new website, www. was open for business. The website explains the mission of NO2PLASTICSN2 and its importance; it features maps showing local residents where to shop to avoid SUPs as much as possible, which is what residents want, as shown at the Saturday and East Finchley Festival stalls. In a what-to-buy section, the website suggests purchases that will allow readers to be as free of SUPs as possible. And then fate intervened. Not only locally, but nationally, the group could influence legislation for the long-term. The Environment Bill 2019-21 is going through parliament at the moment. Theresa Villiers, MP for Chipping Barnet, introducing the Bill said: ”We will have the most ambitious programme of any country on earth”. We must grab this opportunity to hold the government to this commitment. The bill is just about to go to the Lords. We targeted Lord Goldsmith and Lord Gardiner, both ministers in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. We have had a fruitful correspondence and hope that our suggestions will be implemented. Starting with SUP carrier

bags, NO2PLASTICSN2 proposes that there should be an amendment with the provision of having other forms of SUPs added over time. That is a simple-to-enforce series of outright bans. You can help reinforce the message to those lords by email at You can write your own letter or copy and paste the one on the No 2 Plastics website, and sign the petition sainsbury-s-make-all-plastic-carrierbags-illegal/psf/promote_or_share In the world that will emerge from this pandemic we cannot and must not continue pouring ever increasing quantities of noncompostable SUPs on to the land and into the oceans. They are the only land and oceans we will ever have. Seize the day, start now. n

The Ultimate Gourmet Cheese Board Gift

Gluten Free & Vegan gifts available

020 8004 4567

Your online gourmet gift store with free standard delivery! Urgent orders welcome!

A gift speaks a thousand words of kindness

Finchley Community 35

supporting local

Supporting Local The pandemic has been catastrophic but there is hope for many businesses, as Mehmet Salih explains


he pandemic has wreaked havoc on small business in the UK, with a huge number of small and medium-sized businesses expected to close by the end of the year. Some of the earliest victims have been the restaurants we all know and love, and small food companies in the catering and hospitality industries. I established the app, Farm London, in January 2020 with my brother-in law, Victor Mowla, to change the tide for independent local sellers in London. In the true sense of supporting local, we are working with new and exciting food vendors including professional chefs and bakers, as well as those wishing to switch their business models following the pandemic. It could be an opportunity to become more lucrative, offering higher quality food than has been available for home delivery. At a time where health has never been more important, local food heroes are stepping up and offering healthy artisan food delivery as an alternative to generic takeaway options currently available. Farm London and partners believe that not only do small artisan food creators have better quality food to offer, they are also an integral part of their local communities. To

36 Finchley Community

this effect, they have made the bold move to become the only food delivery platform in the UK which refuses to work with chains. Farm London has recently launched in Finchley and north London, and will expand across London next year. My brother-in-law and I felt there was a lack of support for small businesses at the start of the pandemic; from there we imagined Farm London. No business is too small to sell on the platform. The type of food and products offered through the Farm London platform can only be described as artisan; the experience of using the app is reminiscent of the farmers’ market, only delivered to your door. The food creators themselves deliver their fresh produce, giving them a chance to interact with customers as they would in a market environment. One business featured on the app is Fala Portuges founded by Silvia Luis Gomes in 2008. In 2020, the pandemic put paid to her plans to expand the enterprise, which principally sold Portuguese delicacies via London street markets. However, Silvia saw this as an opportunity to explore a new venture and start to offer a home delivery service to her customers. As a former social worker, Sylvia is pleased to be associated

farm london

Fala Portuges

The Shakshukit

The GG kitchen

Artizan fudge

with Farm App and its commitment to helping those in need. Though it perhaps seems indulgent to kick up a fuss about artisan food during these trying times, Farm London’s approach is always about giving back to the local community. As such, we have teamed up with leading London charities, such as the Felix project, which delivered 14 million meals to the most vulnerable people in London during 2020. At a time when many thousands of families could go hungry this year alone in the city, we believe it is the responsibility of every business and customer to pitch in and make a real difference to those who need it most.

Victor Mowla, co-founder, Farm London, adds: “We wanted to make sure that every time an order is placed on our platform, a portion of the money can be donated to the most vulnerable people in society. Farm London is committed to supporting local enterprises. The food industry is fiercely competitive and in giving ethical platforms a chance, we can support local businesses and offer help to those who may not be able to afford to provide food for their families this year.” n The Farm London app is live in north London. Visit You will be supporting local chefs by ordering their wonderful artisan food. Finchley Community 37

religious celebrations

Easter Mavis Crispin, associate vicar at St Paul’s Church, Finchley, explains the deep significance of this major Christian festival


hen I was teaching in primary school, we received some wonderful resources in the form of posters of all major world faiths. I was a little disappointed with the two Christian pictures ― one was of a Christmas tree and the other, bunnies and Easter eggs ― both recent symbols in the long history of the Christian Church. No holy book, no people at worship and no significant, commemorative meal. A poor way to convey the greatest events in the Christian calendar. You may have seen the Good Friday March in Ballard’s Lane. A silent walk, with Christians of all denominations following a wooden cross. It is a sad and sombre day, but the story is far from over; death cannot have the last word. Jesus taught his disciples that his death would be reconciling and redemptive, both reflective of the Jewish roots of Christianity. He would be laying down his life for his friends and ultimately his enemies as well. He also predicted that he would rise again on the third day.


Grief transformed The deeply grieving and confused disciples only half remembered his words. It took several women witnesses (disallowed in those times and culture) to convey the good news to the male disciples, “We have seen the Lord!”. Several men ran to discover the empty tomb; they too were to encounter Jesus. Their transformation to utter joy was noted by many. It became the motivation to spread this good news. New communities were created throughout the Roman Empire, which transcended race and class, and began to challenge oppressive regimes and systems. Perhaps the hollow egg is a good symbol after all: an empty tomb and new life. New starts are possible In the course of my work, I have spent this greatest of Christian festivals in several countries such as Pakistan and Peru. Rituals and customs vary but the core is held in common. Some Christians focus

easter more on Holy Week, the week preceding Christ’s resurrection, with processions, fasting and foot washing ― the culmination of the penitential season of Lent. Others give more weight to Easter Day itself, with the dawn acclamation of a minister: “Christ is risen!” and the response of a congregation: “He is risen indeed!”. For serious Christians, the Easter account of the Resurrection impacts the whole of life. They identify with Jesus in the sad days of death and suffering, the confused days of Holy Saturday and the joyful days of the first Easter, embracing a range of human emotion and experience. Historically, this has led to reaching out to others especially when human society is most under

Our main goal is to introduce Computer Coding and Robotics to both children and grownups in a simple, fun and interesting way We run school clubs: “Game Design Club” for Infant and Junior Schools “Robo Club” for Junior Schools During school holidays we run “STAR Activites” for kids aged between 8 and 14 years old. We offer tailored computing and robotic courses for children, teens and adults, school assemblies, and workshops for school staff & children. For more information, please feel free to contact us 077 4849 3383 Facebook @eAssistant

threat such as by wars, disasters and pandemics. Christ-like love underpins this. Hope is always there. New starts are possible. n Mavis Crispin is a mother of three and grandmother of seven. She has been a member of St Paul’s since the early 1980s. After many years in teaching, Mavis studied theology and counselling at the London School of Theology. She was ordained in 2006 and is interested in the relationship between science and faith, particularly environmental science.


The festival of freedom Diane Langleben is looking forward to celebrating Passover, but will this year be different from other years?


or Jews, Passover is one of the major festivals. It celebrates our freedom after centuries of slavery to the pharaohs thousands of years ago. Like many Jews, I am looking forward to the festival, which lasts eight days. During this time, we do not eat leavened products, that is, those that include rising agents such as yeast. This is to symbolise the fact that the Hebrew slaves left Egypt in haste and there was no time for the bread to rise. Instead, we eat unleavened bread ― matzah. I love preparing for Passover and using the recipes to bake and cook foods that we only eat during these few days. Each family will have its own particular favourites, but for me it includes the little cakes made with nuts, such as almond macaroons. Jewish festivals always begin at sunset. The first night of Passover includes a festive meal and is often a family gathering. Each person at the table is given a role, even the little ones. We tell the story of the exodus as if we are there. The youngest child who is able asks four important questions in the form of a song to find out why the night differs from all others; an explanation is sung by the rest of the party. Halfway 40 Finchley Community

through the evening, the meal is served, and this always begins by displaying and tasting a plate of symbolic foods. • A shank bone to represent the sacrifice of a lamb the evening before the exodus • A hard-boiled egg which is then roasted and symbolises the festival sacrifice that was offered at the Temple in Jerusalem • Bitter herbs, often horseradish, to remind us about the hardship of slavery • Charoset: a paste made from fruits such as apples, plus nuts, spices and wine to represent the mortar the slaves made • A green vegetable, usually parsley, to represent hope and renewal Dinner is then served after which we sing traditional songs. It is such a happy festival and one that my family love to celebrate together when possible. Last year, we celebrated this important festival during the first lockdown. By the wonders of Zoom we were able to link up all the family, both in London and points north. It certainly was not the same as all sitting around the same table arguing about the correct tune for all the songs. I am writing this several weeks in advance of the March/April issue of Finchley Community Magazine, and Passover began at the end of March. I have no idea to what extent we will be freed from our lockdown shackles, although we will not be gathering indoors with our families. This year, more than ever, we will be so grateful when freedom is restored. n Diane Langleben is now enjoying retirement after a long professional life in pharmacy. She is subeditor of Finchley Community Magazine.


R A M A DA N What the holy month means to one local family as mum, Maysoun, explains


amadan is one of the most spiritual months for Muslims, and fasting Ramadan is the fourth of the five Pillars of Islam. Ramadan is also the month when the Quran was revealed to Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him). During the whole month of 29 or 30 days, Muslims start fasting (no eating or drinking) from the Fajr (dawn, before sunrise) until Maghrib (sunset). This year, Ramadan will start on 12 April and end on 12 May, plus or minus a day, depending on when the birth of the new moon is sighted. Usually, the start and end of the month are announced midday, the day before, on the official website of the London Central Mosque. For my family, waiting for the announcement either online or on Islam Channel is an exciting gathering. When Ramadan occurs during the summer months, it is a long fasting time, yet the day somehow just flows by. When this last occurred, my children were too young to fast, so we used to put them to bed and then break our fast. Currently, as they are all in secondary school, they join us in fasting and they really enjoy it. For my family, Ramadan is such a special time, when we gather over the

main meal to break our fast. We do a lot of cooking during Ramadan, which for me makes it more exciting because I try to cook more traditional meals. We break our fast with dates and a sweet drink made of dried apricot (called amar el deen) sold as sheets. These are boiled with some sugar and then cooled in the fridge. The drink is then served with some walnuts or pine nuts on top for decoration. Next, we have the main dish. Last year Ramadan fell during lockdown and reminded us as a family of how much we had taken for granted. We used to meet our friends to have Iftar together, which we were unable to do. Focusing more on enjoying our family time, each member of my household helped prepare the food. We had our prayers together and after Iftar we chatted about almost anything. We had such a great fun time forming new habits together as a family, which we all enjoyed and are now doing our best to maintain during our everyday routine. After Ramadan, we celebrate Eid al Fitr for three days, for which we bake lots of traditional sweets at home. We wear new clothes and usually take the kids out, to meet the family and friends. n Finchley Community 41

United we stand! Nick Allen introduces FCM to a local community network

42 Finchley Community

that businesses along the High Road would be invited with the aim of including everyone who had a business in East Finchley, whether in commercial premises or working from home. N2United launch The initiative proved successful and was re-launched as N2United at the East Finchley festival in 2016. Meetings were moved to evenings at members’ request but with the same dedication to supporting local businesses. In 2019, the network was expanded to offer the same benefits provided to businesses, to the many organisations in the area working to help East Finchley. We have so far resisted encouragement to expand the network across Finchley. We have been able to spotlight the growing range of specialist shops, services

© M A R C B A R R OT


United is a community and business network serving a variety of organisations, including shops, cafes, freelancers and charities. We work together to address local issues affecting businesses and the wider community, and help grow, develop and raise the profile of living and working in East Finchley. In 2015, several East Finchley businesses joined together to form a network to generate revenue and address the issues that faced local trade. This support network and social forum, named the “East Finchley Business Collective for East Finchley Businesses”, provided a chance for businesses to meet and work together and forge links with the neighbourhood. From the initial meeting, it was agreed


and entrepreneurs that are operating in the area, and encouraging East Finchley residents to keep shopping locally. To help residents find and interact with local organisations and businesses, we have launched a directory with contact details and promotional information. We also have a community calendar to help share resources and promote events as well as avoiding diary clashes. Over the years, in partnership with other interested parties, we have worked with businesses to help restore parking spaces taken up by delivery bikes on the High Road and petitioned for and established a living Christmas tree for the area. Recently, we have been able to show the council and its representatives the difficulties caused when proper consultation is not sought, for example with the new cycle lanes. Business as usual To further assist businesses in these challenging times, we have facilitated several campaigns to stimulate business. The latest, ‘#N2Unique’, was aimed at new shops and businesses during Christmas 2020 and as a platform to thank everyone who helped the community during lockdown. East Finchley is a special community of residents, businesses and organisations where everyone pulled together and made a real difference during the past year; in many cases it changed lives. We want to reinforce that spirit with the continued support of the local community and work to keep it going.

We want to support all businesses, many of them residents working from home, to thrive and keep the positive changes to local shopping habits alive. Where possible, we want to prevent small businesses closing or the loss of local shops which have such a negative impact. I am a founder of the network and am assisted by local volunteers. We also have the support of such organisations as Finchley Community Magazine, the Archer newspaper, local Facebook groups, East Finchley Festival and local councillors. As well as boosting trade, N2United provides mutual support and finds ways to make local businesses grow by giving them one powerful, collective voice as well as being a forum for ideas and for debating local issues. The network is an inclusive forum for all local organisations and businesses. It is non-political and nonreligious, and members are expected to be respectful of each other. We meet on the second Thursday of each month to help coordinate efforts, increase lobby influence, and share information. We also hold specific business-focused meetings to provide support and networking opportunities. Despite the pandemic, meetings have continued via Zoom. n If you would like to know more, please visit the website: where you can also join the network, which is free. Nick Allan is chair of business network N2United. Finchley Community 43

Life as a local councillor Arjun Mittra, Barnet councillor, shares his mission to help his constituents in East Finchley


ince my election to Barnet Council in 2012, I have always recognised the need to be present in the community I serve and in which I live. I started off by relentlessly walking all the roads in my ward of East Finchley and reporting flytipping, graffiti, dog fouling, and broken pavements and potholes. Keeping the streets clean and tidy is really the first job of any council, and if you can’t do that, then how can residents have any faith that you can do the rest properly? Over the years, doing this has helped build my profile, and give residents confidence to seek my assistance when they have problems dealing with the council. “Casework” is something that really makes a difference in people’s lives. Sometimes they can seem small or unimportant, but it means a lot to the person involved. Barnet Council is a somewhat Byzantine and complicated world, not least because 44 Finchley Community

arjun mittra of outsourcing services to Capita, so navigating the system is hard for most residents, and they are often met with a “no” to perfectly reasonable requests, for no good reason. Helping to unclog the system or advocating for those who have been wronged is the foundation of representative democracy. I won’t win every battle ― I can’t remember the last time I had a satisfactory outcome on an overcrowded housing case, but for many, knowing that someone cares, is on their side and is trying to help, is a great comfort. I am still amazed by the range of things for which people ask for help. They include bad landlords and housing conditions, missed bin collections and litter. I have always found dealing with victims of domestic abuse and violence to be the most important cases I’ve dealt with. One of the things that has become apparent over time is that cases are becoming increasingly complex, and more and more people are approaching politicians for help, because so many of the safety nets that used to exist for people have gone. Thanks to austerity, the responsibility to act has never been greater. I also work with community organisations; I prefer to assist rather than be part of organisations because it means that I have no conflicts of interest when it comes to asking the council for resources for them. I am a strong believer in upholding the principles of integrity in public office, and to be seen to favour an organisation you are part of could be construed as improper. That doesn’t mean I don’t work closely with them, but I am not involved in internal politics and can just get on with doing what they ask.

The East Finchley area is blessed with so many different charities and organisations, and it is a real pleasure to work with them to get things done. To name a few, Friends of Cherry Tree Wood, the Finchley Society, the Phoenix Cinema, Friends of Finchley Youth Theatre, the Finchley Food Bank and Save Barnet Libraries are all great local campaigns and groups that it has been a pleasure to work with over the years. I have also established great working relationships with partner organisations, such as the NHS, the fire brigade, housing associations, the police and Transport for London. Best of all are local schools because every time I visit them I meet so many bright, passionate and helpful young people. It is always inspiring to talk with public service heroes, such as nurses and firefighters, and a real privilege of the job to do so. Outside of Barnet Council, I work at the London Assembly for the Labour Group as a researcher. It’s great to have a different perspective on different levels of government and how they work. Unfortunately, the impact of having two full-time jobs means I don’t get much time outside politics to indulge my interests in travel, history and cricket as much as I would like, but one of my post-pandemic resolutions is to give myself a bit more time! I am really proud of the work I’ve done for East Finchley in my nine years of public office, and it is so rewarding to be able to walk on any street in the ward and know that I’ve done something to help at least one person. Public service is hard work, and sometimes criticism is unfair, but at the end of the day there’s nothing more rewarding! n Finchley Community 45

business mindset

Transforming your mindset It is the key to success according to Zuzana Taylor


indset is everything for business owners. The success mindset is a certain way of thinking; it’s about the way you approach challenges and mistakes. It builds confidence, resilience, enthusiasm and positive outlook on business and life in general. Mindset development leads to learning skills that allow you to work better and feel happier in all areas of your life. A negative self-destructive mindset can lead to self-doubt and low confidence, reflected in your performance and business. This usually leads to failure. Perhaps you are reading this because you want to improve things. Now is the time for you to change and develop your new success mindset. By reprogramming your negative thoughts, making changes and creating new habits, you will start seeing a positive effect, make progress and train your mind to succeed by developing the success mindset.

Do something challenging every day; leave your comfort zone and build your confidence. When you have a small success, this re-wires your brain, supporting you in developing a success mindset. Bear in mind it must be something interesting that resonates with you, otherwise it might have the opposite affect.

Five ways to help you develop the success mindset 1 Welcome challenging new situations: being an entrepreneur, you face big and small new challenges daily. Learn to embrace challenges and not only that, look for them. It trains your mind to overcome those challenging situations, learning to deal with them, building your confidence and letting you know you can succeed.

Shaping your mindset and investing in yourself allows others to invest in you. Be sure, though, that you share the same outlook. It is a good idea to do some research and have a consultation session before you start working together.

46 Finchley Community

Find a mentor: this brings benefits for personal and business growth, including: • Having your interests at heart • Holding you accountable • Supporting you in generating more money and ideas in your business • Receiving feedback • Solving problems with a like-minded person • Broadening your network • Gaining guidance and learning the blueprint for success • Learning from someone who has the experience • Getting where you want to be faster, rather than spending time, energy and money figuring it all out yourself 2

Think of failure as a learning opportunity: you learn something from each “failure”. Think about a situation when you hit rock 3

zuzana taylor bottom. It probably led to a realisation and a change; it prompted growth and forward movement and taught you something. When you learn to see failure as an experience, and a way to learn, move forward and grow, your mindset will shift, seeing failure as a positive thing. You will find it easier to take risks and deal with mistakes. Surround yourself with inspiring people: as the American entrepreneur, author and motivational speaker, Jim Rohn, said: “You’re the average of the five people you spend most of your time with”. We are social creatures, influenced by the people around us. If we surround ourselves with people with positive attitudes, it inspires us to learn something. You can make a commitment to become a better version of yourself. Reading inspiring books about successful people contributes to your skills, knowledge and motivation. Your mind reflects what information you feed it; the more you expose yourself to such people, the more you will think like them. 4

Change your morning routine: waking up earlier in the morning, before everybody in your household, gives you time to focus on yourself. Choose morning yoga, meditation practice, five minutes of breathing exercise or even a walk outside in the fresh air. This makes a big difference to your day and the way you feel. It gives you a good start to the day, setting you up to avoid all the stress and morning chaos. Once you start developing a new mindset you find yourself creating new habits. Transforming your mindset for success takes time. It is an ongoing process, requiring focus and commitment. Implementing these five strategies into your practice will help to build confidence and self-belief. It will develop a more positive outlook on life in general. You will also gain valuable new skills and experience personal growth and progress in business ― why not give them a try? n 5

Zuzana Taylor has lived in Finchley for 20 years, with her husband and two children. She is a transformational business and mindset coach. Her passion is to help ambitious mothers to build profitable businesses and find the confidence to make a bigger impact and live a life on their terms.

WOMEN! DO YOU WANT MORE THAN ICING ON YOUR CAKE? Why not join the Women’s Institute? It is the UK’s largest women’s membership organisation. The WI offers all women over the age of 18 the chance to connect with their local community in a friendly and inclusive space.

Meet new people, make new friends, and enjoy a variety of activities. We have inspirational speakers, crafting, books, walking, garden, theatre and cinema visits to name a few! Do you want to campaign on issues, locally or nationally or learn new skills and revise old ones? Finchley WI is here to inspire you! We meet on the second Wednesday of every month except August, in Stephens House & Gardens (17 East End Road, N3 3QE) at 8pm. Come along and take a look; in the meantime, you can find more information on

Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.