Refurbishment of St. Martins Learning Centre
High Trees Learning Centre is (finally!) undergoing refurbishment! As everyone who knows the Centre knows, whether you’ve done a course with us, visited our Jobs Club or popped by to use our Digital Hub our building has been in dire need of repair or refurbishment for some time now. The building has not undergone any major repair or refurbishment since local residents set up High Trees in the old library building 22 years ago and although we’ve done our best to keep things in a good state of repair this has certainly started to show.
High Trees have also expanded – both in terms of number of users and services offered since it was first set up and for the past few years we have had to base a number of services (such as our Employment service) in other local buildings, and while we’re proud of the services we offer we know that the buildings we’re housing them in don’t reflect what our users should expect.
Thanks to the amazing support of our funders we have now raised a significant proportion of the funds needed to undertake the work, though work continues to raise the rest, including our Crowdfunder campaign
This page will give information on the project, including our consultation on the final designs, the interior plans, our funders and supporters and will be keep updated with the projects progress
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 and in 1998 High Trees was founded! We are proud that two out of three of the orginal founding trustees are still with High Trees to this day. High Trees has grown monumentally since then into the charity that we are today, changing lives through diverse and far-reaching services.
- Our education courses and training break down barriers to access qualifications. During the pandemic, we worked with over 700 learners of which more than 70% progressed onto higher level training, volunteering or employment.
- We offer employment and welfare advice. Last year, we supported more than 100 individuals into employment, better or more secure jobs.
- We run listening campaigns in the local area to understand the issues our communities are facing, meeting them at their doorstep and supporting them in building action plans that can make their voices heard.
- We provide a daily adventure play programme for children and young people, creating a difference in the lives of more than 200 youth each year.
- And we are leading on four core partnership programmes to connect and innovate the voluntary and community sector in Lambeth, promoting collaboration and trust instead of competition.
Our progress in this endeavour could not have been possible without the help of our funders and supporters. We are incredibly grateful to the support of Badur Foundation, who provided use with an initial grant to allow us to develop our designs for the building. The generous support of Power to Change who have provided us with a grant for 50% of the project costs, and the vital match funding provided by Garfield Weston, Lambeth Council and SIB to date. We continue to fundraise for the remainder including our Crowdfunder.
We have been grateful for the support of local architects, ZMA, who have been working with High Trees for the last 2 years, getting to know us and our services, understanding the needs of our organisation and the local community and are responsible for designing the plans.
Our renovation plans will transform the internal layout of our centre, providing more space for our service users and staff. The updated space will include:
- Dedicated employment support pods
- An internet cafe for community use
- Flexible meeting spaces avaliable for hire
- Inspiring training rooms
Thank you so much to everyone who voted in our facade survey! You can see the winning design below. We’re so excited to be one step closer to renovating our building – it’s going to look great!
The design of the inside of the building was developed in partnership with the buildings current users, who will – alongside future users – enjoy the space for many years to come! The outside of the building however, will be seen not just by High Trees users but everyone in the local area.
One thing that came across clearly in our consultations so far and is reflected in the data collected from those who use our services is that most people hear about our work through word of mouth. Of course, we’re delighted that those who have worked with us then go on to recommend our services to others, but one thing that we’ve been told time and time again is that some local residents have walked past the building for years without knowing the range of services offered or that the building is in community use.
Visit Our Crowdfunder
Donate to the High Trees renovations and make a difference in your community