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Local Trust welcomes publication of consultation on a Community Wealth Fund

Local Trust’s CEO Matt Leach explores the proposals in the government’s technical consultation, and what a Community Wealth Fund could mean for levelling-up ‘left behind’ neighbourhoods.

Join Matt in conversation with Baroness Armstrong of Hilltop, the minister responsible for the National Strategy for Neighbourhood Renewal, on 17 October. Reserve your place.

It’s great to see the Department for Culture, Media and Sport publish the technical consultation on delivering a Community Wealth Fund. Local Trust is very much looking forward to working closely with The National Lottery Community Fund on its detailed delivery and design.

The initial indication of the government’s preferred approach is very encouraging. It includes:

  • significant funding pots of circa £1million
  • long term funding
  • no requirement for baseline social infrastructure
  • community leadership on decision-making
  • needs-based allocation rather than competition.

All these proposals are very much consistent with the recommendations made by the cross-sectoral Community Wealth Fund campaign, of which Local Trust is proud to be a founding member.

There are still some issues to clarify as the consultation moves forward, including:

  • The total funds available: how many communities might benefit?
  • Targeting: the government is signaling smaller towns first – will there be scope to extend the fund to support communities in larger towns and cities down the line? A lot of  ‘left behind’ communities can be found on the periphery of larger urban areas. Is a population of 20,000 the right threshold?
  • Neighbourhood focus: our experience suggests that a neighbourhood focus is essential if you are looking to build community infrastructure and mobilise local people.
  • Support: the consultation suggests that capacity building support will be part of the offer – our experience delivering the Big Local programme shows it is essential to help communities make the most of their opportunity.

I’m very much looking forward to engaging further with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and The National Lottery Community Fund on developing the proposals further. There is a lot of learning to share from the success of a decade of Big Local, showcasing what can be achieved when you give local people resources, time and support to transform their own communities. Some great examples can be found in our recent Changemakers series.

It’s also hugely positive to see the joint foreword to the consultation from Lucy Frazer and Michael Gove. The Community Wealth Fund offers a unique opportunity for the long term levelling-up of ‘left behind’ neighbourhoods, with a particular focus on helping local people rebuild their civic life and social infrastructure.

Read the full consultation and find out more about the Community Wealth Fund Alliance.

About the author
Matt Leach

Matt Leach is chief executive of Local Trust.