About us

Meeting everyone as a person of great potential.

High Trees Community Development Trust was established by residents in 1998 to serve the needs of the local community in Tulse Hill. We were set up by local residents from St. Martins’ Housing estate, who campaigned to bring the recently closed public library into community ownership.

Since then, High Trees has grown into a multidisciplinary charity, with a team of 25+ staff. We continue to stay true to our founding vision, to deliver impactful services focusing on the needs of the local community.

Our approach

At High Trees we aim to make life better for individuals and communities who use our services, helping people make meaningful changes that allow them to live happier, healthier and more connected lives.  

The services we offer are targeted and local, available to all those who wish to use them, but aimed at those who need them most. From experience and evidence, we know that those most impacted by structural inequalities are also most often failed by the public services needed to help everyone reach their potential.  

High-Trees are a deliberately place-based organisation and even as our reach has expanded across Lambeth, this remains at the centre of all our work. We believe that being embedded within the local community and place-based is essential to delivering impactful services. It ensures that we remain accountable to our service users and engage in work for our community, leaving a legacy which outlasts our direct involvement.  

Our experience and expertise has informed our multi-disciplinary approach. We recognise that the barriers people face to meeting their potential and leading fulfilled lives are interconnected and span areas such as education, employment, housing, health, opportunities and access to civic participation. 

Our history

The High Trees Learning Centre begun as a library in 1962 and in 1995, after serving the community for 33 years, the library closed its doors and was boarded up. 

Following the closure of the library, a group of local residents came together to ensure the building stayed in community use. This led to High Trees Community Development Trust being founded in 1998. High Trees has grown monumentally since then into the charity that we are today, changing lives through diverse and far-reaching services. 

High Trees prior to refurbishment in 2021

In 2021, we began major refurbishment of the High Trees main building, which had not undergone any major updates or refurbishment since High Trees was established in 1998. The refurbishment was completed in September 2022 and has transformed our centre and the way our community services run, allowing us to support more local residents than ever before. 

The new High Trees Learning Hub includes major updates to our education training rooms, two specialist employment support pods and an internet café open for community use. 

St Martins Library exterior

St Martins Library interior