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High Trees Community Centre Regenerating the local community socially and economically

High Trees Community Development Trust is an established community anchor and hub based in Tulse Hill, South London. They work with local people and external groups to build the capacity of individuals and smaller voluntary community organisations, using an innovative partnership approach.

High Trees aim to ensure the individuals they support have increased skills and a stronger voice, as well as to build active, resilient communities. They have been delivering projects and services to local people for over 21 years. Adopting a holistic approach to community development, their work is delivered in a collaborative manner; working with other partners to enhance service delivery, avoid duplication of work and ensure there is a joined-up approach to supporting Lambeth’s most under served individuals and communities.

“Times became financially very hard. I felt that I had so many skills to offer I was going for interviews but was not being offered any jobs. I was rapidly losing confidence in being employed again. A string of events led me to High Trees Development project… The standards of training at High Trees is second to none. As a result, I am very excited and confident about my future prospects and work opportunities.” Gloria, St Martin’s Estate

We were impressed by High Trees’ approach. Guided by the needs of the local community, they deliver and support a range of projects. Through their ‘Employment, Education and Training Support’ they offer Community Learning and accredited training courses, employment support, volunteering opportunities and work placements schemes. Another key strand of their work is ‘Community Engagement and Development’, where they nurture individuals and community groups, building their capacity and empowering them to take local action and develop advocacy skills. They also deliver ‘Children, Young People and Family Services’, where they work on the basis of early intervention, delivering youth clubs and forums, adventure play, well-being projects, mentoring and youth leadership.

“I think Youth Club should be on more so that everyone can come together because Wednesdays everyone looks forward to on Tulse Hill.” Young Person Aged 14, Tulse Hill Estate

Despite their successful approach, the team struggled to gain support for capital development. With help from the Badur Foundation, High Trees gained professional architect plans for the refurbishment of their community centre. Gaining professional plans was an important first step, enabling the team to begin their fundraising journey to make the capital project a reality. After a challenging but successful period of fundraising, the Foundation provided further support towards the cost of the works. The Foundation continues to work with High Trees as the refurbishment takes place, which will enable better use of the space to deliver vital support and services to local people.