Exciting times ahead for East Finchley estate after £1million National Lottery Grant

Times Series: The volunteers The volunteers

There are exciting times ahead for part of Finchley which was given a £1million grant to revitalise an estate “everyone loves”.

The Grange Estate, in East Finchley, was given the money from the National Lottery to launch a new project called The Big Local.

Money will go towards the Font Hills and Thomas More estates.

Project volunteers are looking to spread the word about the money and hope to inspire residents to brainstorm ideas to make sure the money is used to its full potential.

Mother Louise Fincham, who lives on the estate, said: “Everyone is so passionate about the area – everyone loves it.

“It’s a very multi cultural area and it’s got a very big community atmosphere here, so we’re determined to keep that.

“There’s nothing drastically wrong with the estate, but it will be nice to help out the people who live here.”

Over the last few years, the area behind the Ann Owens Community Centre has been targeted by arsonists.

Residents have been responding to a consultation to identify the areas of need and the way the money should be spent.

Many feel there should be more for children and teenagers to do, and others have suggested opening a community centre.

Big Local Representative Paul Bragman said: “It’s a lovely area and hopefully this will bring more good things to it.

“It’s had a great response with everybody wanting to get involved. It’s exciting to know we’re finally getting things off the ground.”

The National Lottery gave them a further £20,000 to help kick start the project and buy maps, t-shirts and run a competition giving under 18s the chance to have their say.

As part of the consultation, people are invited to say what they like about the area and what needs changing.

Barnet Homes have also been supporting the volunteers launch the Big Local Project.

Volunteer Jon Woolfson said: “It’s a positive thing for the community. There’s so much we can achieve with this – but people need to tell us what they’d like to see.”

The Big Local Project is looking for people to help be ambassadors in the community.

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