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Local economies

Big and small combine to transform the future of British communities

Rob Day, Local Trust’s policy intern, reflects on how the Community Wealth Fund alliance could be the perfect example of charity cooperation, with organisations of all shapes and sizes focused on transforming communities across the country.

Today, the Small Charities Coalition launches its ‘Big Supports Small’ campaign celebrating the friendship that exists between big and small charities. Cooperation between charities is vitally important to help everyone across the sector to achieve their goals and improve the lives of people throughout the country.

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Since its inception in August 2018, the Community Wealth Fund alliance has arguably become the archetypal example of charity sector cooperation. The alliance represents a radical partnership between voluntary sector organisations, independent funders, sector initiatives and private sector organisations, all calling for a new multi-billion pound national endowment to support ‘left behind’ or deprived communities. Set up by 7 founding funders, the alliance is now over 100 members strong; each publicly calling for the government to invest dormant assets into a Community Wealth Fund to help to rejuvenate communities across the UK.

The diversity of member organisations has given the alliance the strength to influence policy decisions across the charity sector more broadly. Small community associations such as Newcastle CVSSt Matthews Big Local in Leicester and Croydon Voluntary Action, to name a few, are vital in helping to maintain the alliance’s focus on the needs of people within the communities that it will affect. Comparatively, the support of large charities such as NCVO and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation has given the campaign access to a breadth of support and a depth of industry knowledge that would have been otherwise unattainable.

In addition to the diversity of members, the Fund is itself an example of how cooperation between big and small organisations is vital if we are to transform British community life. The alliance is proposing that the Fund should be administered on a long-term basis (10-15 years), be resident-led and take into account the needs of people within their own neighbourhoods. This would represent a radical transfer of resources away from central government into the hands of local people. To be successful this requires collaboration between big and small organisations, giving communities access to the knowledge and resources that they would need to affect change within their areas.

By working together, charity sector organisations, and local residents themselves, can transform our society and ultimately people’s lives.