UK Charities Call to Create Community Wealth Fund
3 September 2018 at 4:05 pm
A UK charity alliance is urging the government to create a multi-billion pound Community Wealth Fund, that aims to build a more resilient civil society in economically-disadvantaged areas.
Place-based funder, Local Trust, said in a report that £2 billion (A$3.6 billion) in unclaimed financial assets should be used to create a fund to support “left behind” communities.
“This fund would provide the investment and support needed to support strong relationships and social action across England, supporting a richer and more resilient civil society in areas which have struggled in the face of economic and social challenges,” the report said.
The Community Wealth Fund would utilise unclaimed assets from bonds, shares, insurance policies and pension funds, and be supplemented by other dormant assets including those stuck in charitable trusts with a purpose that’s no longer feasible.
This proposal – supported by a charity alliance including the Church Urban Fund, Barrow Cadbury Trust, and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation – aimed to eventually grow the fund to £5 billion (A$9 billion) through corporate support.
Stuart Etherington, the CEO 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.”
The report said a Community Wealth Fund would help meet the ambitions of the government’s recent Civil Society Strategy, by creating substantial place-based investment programs and introducing a new model of investment to raise social and economic outcomes.
Matt Leach, the CEO of Local Trust, said the fund would also be tailored to meet 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,” Leach said.