North Finchley Cultural Action Plan

This Cultural Action Plan proposes a range of actionable projects, programmes and initiatives that will enrich the cultural life of North Finchley and help create a balanced Town Centre for the benefit of everyone. We were commissioned as the world was coming out of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the time seemed right to invest in culture and creativity as a boost to the Town Centre and local creative organisations.

Togetherfest 2018 at artsdepot

North Finchley is home to a wide variety of cultural organisations and venues, from the artsdepot, an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation, to a plethora of grassroots organisations. Below the surface of this relatively small area of North London you can find a rich cultural scene punching above its weight. Our brief was to develop a strategy for culture and creativity to be integral to the Town Centre, working with local people to shape to shape this vision. The aim was to bring people together in shared creative experiences that will help to support the town centre, and at the same time strengthen and diversify the cultural and creative sector in North Finchley.

To ensure that the Cultural Action Plan was reflective of the area, we developed the work in collaboration with the local community through a series of engagement events, surveys and workshops. 156 people responded to our initial information gathering survey, followed by further engagement with local cultural organisations and interested parties. Prior to the finalisation of the Action Plan a six-week consultation was held, the feedback from more than 300 responses was incorporated into the final document.


Community engagement identified that people wanted to have more cultural experiences in the Town Centre at all times of the day, wanted to be supported to be able to self-initiate activities and have access to more spaces to do these in. Our analysis of the Town Centre and feedback that we solicited from the community suggested that we should focus the Action Plan on three main aims; Sharing Culture, Fostering Community and Supporting Growth.

Focus areas of the Cultural Action Plan
Focus areas of the Cultural Action Plan
Focus areas of the Cultural Action Plan
Focus areas of the Cultural Action Plan

The Cultural Action Plan proposes a range of actionable projects, programmes and initiatives inspired by our independent research and community engagement, and clustered around four themes: championing North Finchley’s existing expertise in dance, rekindling local pride in North Finchley’s historic cinema and live music scene, making the Town Centre a place for experiencing culture every day and encouraging cultural production within North Finchley.

Build on the presence of artsdepot, Barnet’s key performance venue (and Arts Council National Portfolio Organisation) and the large concentration of dance schools and groups in North Finchley.
Local people would like to experience more live music in the town centre.
Community engagement tells us that people are looking for cultural experiences to encourage them to spend more time in the town centre.
Mapping shows that there is some cultural production in the town centre, however engagement feedback has called for more spaces and opportunities for creative activity.

Developed so that it could be easily delivered by local authority, the Action Plan presented a selection of projects developed around each theme, with case studies illustrating similar initiatives. Each project had a suggested budget, project partners, next steps and other information to allow reasoned decision making on which projects to progress with.


The themes and projects were subsequently consulted on and the document updated with public feedback. We undertook a six-week engagement period to gain feedback from the community on the draft Cultural Action Plan with a total of 241 responses received. During the engagement process individuals and organisations volunteered support including;
– Leading programmes
– Supporting events and providing activity (eg choir)
– Providing professional communications support

Community engagement pop-up event

Learning from previous community engagement on the project in which we had less feedback from 20-34 year olds than other age groups we worked to ensure that promotion of the consultation used both traditional methods as well as social media and on-street activity. This ensured we had a more representative spread of respondents.

Analysis of community input shaped the Action Plan

In parallel to developing the Action Plan we worked with Barnet Council to establish as Cultural Steering Group formed from local cultural organisations, voluntary groups, businesses and individuals. We chaired the initial meetings whilst the group was in its infancy and reported back to the North Finchley Partnership Board. Barnet Council is now working with the group to deliver the aspirations of the Action Plan.

North Finchley, London 2022-2023
Client: Barnet Council

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