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Charity bodies & funders unite with proposal for community wealth fund

Charity bodies & funders unite with proposal for community wealth fund

An alliance of charity bodies, supported by funders, has put forward a proposal for a community wealth fund that would use unclaimed financial assets to help communities in need.

The alliance includes NCVO, Small Charities Coalition, Local Trust, and Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales. It believes that such a fund would help to meet key ambitions set out in the government’s recent by providing long-term strategic investment to support areas that have struggled with economic and social challenges.

The proposal, Strong resourceful communities: The case for a Community Wealth Fund asks the government to commit the next wave of unclaimed financial assets from the likes of bonds, shares, insurance policies and pension funds to a new £1-2billion endowment to support these ‘left behind’ communities.

It also suggests that committing these unclaimed assets, supplemented by other dormant assets, could also attract corporate support and could over time grow the fund to a value in the region of £5bn.

It proposes using these funds to try and meet the ambitions of the Civil Society Strategy by creating place-based investment programmes, introducing a new model of investment that would bring together from a range of sources to raise social and economic outcomes, and developing new approaches in ‘left behind’ communities that lack the capacity and capability to access investment.

The alliance is also asking any other organisations that support the idea of a Community Wealth Fund and would like to be part of future conversations to sign up.

Stuart Etherington, Chief Executive of NCVO said:

“In the wake of the Brexit referendum and Grenfell there’s a real sense that something really ambitious is required to address the feeling of being ‘left behind’ that some communities obviously feel quite intensely. We believe that a significant endowment with the potential of the Community Wealth Fund is needed to support connection, place making and to put decision making power and resources into the hands of local communities.”

Matt Leach, Chief Executive of Local Trust added:

“The Community Wealth Fund would enable people and places to design and commission activities, drawing on local strengths and assets and tailoring services to people’s actual needs. It could be targeted at those places most in need of support and provide the scale of investment required to develop the social capital needed for transformative social and economic change.”

The proposal is supported by the Church Urban Fund, Barrow Cadbury Trust, Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales, The City of London Corporation’s charitable funder, City Bridge Trust, Local Trust and NCVO. It is based on consultation with Locality, UK Community Foundations, Social Enterprise UK, Co-operatives UK, Charity Finance Group, Access – The Foundation for Social Investment, London Funders Group and the London Communities Commission, Small Charities Coalition, Voice4Change, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and The Panel for the Civil Society Futures Inquiry.

Melanie May is a journalist and copywriter specialising in writing both for and about the charity and marketing services sectors since 2001. She can be reached via www.thepurplepim.com.

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