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A once-in-a-generation opportunity: Why the Dormant Assets Consultation needs your voice

The government is asking how nearly £740m should be spent to ‘level up’ communities and address net zero. Local Trust’s CEO Matt Leach explains how, by taking part in the Dormant Assets Consultation, you could help to secure hundreds of millions of pounds for the people and places that need it most. 

It’s hard to distil the power of the Big Local programme. Thanks to the residents that lead it, it means many different things to individuals, families and communities across the country and across generations.  

It’s brought people together at arts festivals, fun days, community choirs and jubilee parties. It’s led to the creation of skate parks, playgrounds, community gardens and forest trails. It’s built connections – never more needed than during the pandemic – and created better, safer and more inspiring places to live. 

Through our experience of supporting Big Local, we believe that other communities should have the same opportunity to work together to address their needs and meet their aspirations. Now, we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to make that happen, through the UK Government’s consultation on dormant assets. 

The story behind the UK’s dormant assets

Dormant assets are assets such as bank accounts, stocks, shares and pension funds whose owners cannot be found.

In 2010, the UK Government set up a scheme enabling some of these dormant assets (bank and building society accounts) to be released for social and environmental causes additional to, or distinct from, things the government spends money on such as education or the NHS.

In 2021, the government expanded the scheme to a wider range of assets, including stocks, shares and bonds, resulting in £738m becoming available to spend in England 

Now, through the Dormant Assets Consultation, the government is asking the UK public how that £738m should be spent to ‘level up’ communities and address net zero. It has set out options in a consultation paper – and one of these is the Community Wealth Fund. 

The vision for the Community Wealth Fund

The Community Wealth Fund described in the government’s consultation paper is modelled on Big Local, and would provide long-term, community-led investment in neighbourhoods.  

Excitingly, the impact of the Big Local programme as a whole, as well as some of the successes of Big Local areas, are cited as evidence of why the fund is needed. 

But to make the Community Wealth Fund a reality, we need as many voices as possible to take part in the Dormant Assets Consultation, explaining why the fund – and investment in long-term, resident-led funding – is vital. 

You can respond to the consultation either as an individual or representing your organisation on the website.

  • You only need to fill in two sections, one and four, which should take around 15 minutes to complete.  
  • The deadline is midnight on 9 October 2022. 
  • Once you’ve completed your response, you can share your views and support on Twitter using #ISupportTheCWF  

Take part in the consultation

You can also find additional guidance on completing the consultation on the Community Wealth Fund website. 

Need some inspiration for your response? Listen to Mark Pepper from Lawrence Weston Big Local explain what putting residents in charge of decision-making can achieve: 

About the author
Matt Leach

CEO of Local Trust