Our name comes from the sprawling cotton tree that stands at the heart of Freetown, Sierra Leone.

The first group of former slaves from America landed on the peninsula after a long sea voyage in 1787. They made their way to the giant tree above the bay, where they prayed and sang hymns of gratitude for their deliverance to a free land. More settlers began to arrive, and Freetown was founded in 1792 with the tree at its centre. It became a historical symbol of freedom and hope.

Our logo is a stylised version of the tree with a white trunk in the shape of a helping hand. The roots go deep into the earth, bringing strength and stability, and the branches reach towards the sky.

The Cotton Tree is founded on these values in the conviction that relaxed time, professional expertise and a welcoming community will enable many deserving individuals to settle and build new lives in the UK. Most of our members are asylum seekers, refugees or people with a recent refugee background. We see ourselves as a community of learning in which every member has much to contribute and much to learn.

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Our ethos

Our vision

Why we exist