ILoveN2 is a trading name of Dirthouse (London) Ltd, a social enterprise established to promote arts and culture and support small businesses in London N2. The project is run by Mike Hughes and Alison Roberts – the team behind East Finchley Festival.
How it started
Alison Roberts created East Finchley’s first community website, eastfinchley.net, in the late 1990s with Neil Barnes and Kevin Finn of The Archer newspaper. The site was later adopted by REEF (Regeneration and Enhancement of East Finchley.
Designer Mike Hughes created the original ILoveN2 logo in 2007, initially for REEF, and produced merchandise which was sold at East Finchley Festival. When REEF disbanded, Mike continued to produce the merchandise to support the festival.
The first incarnation of IloveN2.co.uk appeared in 2010, when East Finchley Community Trust – the then organisers of East Finchley Festival of which Mike Hughes was a trustee – created the website to showcase their projects. Merchandise from that year proudly bears the web address, but within a couple of years the website was all but abandoned.
In 2019 Mike joined forces with festival organiser Alison Roberts to form East Finchley Festival CIC, and took his ILoveN2 brand with him. Together they revived ILoveN2.co.uk and gave it a new lease of life as the East Finchley Community Hub.
How it’s going
The hub now includes Alison’s network of North London-based community Facebook groups, with over 30,000 members. During the 2020-21 lockdown, the need for a central directory of East Finchley’s community groups became more apparent than ever, and ILoveN2 became an essential guide and catalyst through its far-reaching network. During lockdown, these virtual groups in turn spawned face-to-face support groups, most notably East Finchley Neighbourhood Support which runs the N2 Food Project.
The ILoveN2 community hub merged with N2United business and community network in the summer of 2022, adopting the Community Calendar and ‘Be Part of It’ volunteer column from the now defunct N2United network.
Today, the ILoveN2 hub has established itself as the definitive guide to East Finchley, and the range of designs has expanded to include dozens of East Finchley-themed lines, still supporting East Finchley Festival.