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A new Community Wealth Fund could support the communities who need it the most.

An alliance of voluntary sector organisations supported by major funders is proposing a new multi-billion-pound Community Wealth Fund to support the communities who need it the most. [1]

The alliance says that a Community Wealth Fund would meet key ambitions set out in the government’s recent Civil Society Strategy [2] and provide the long-term strategic investment needed to promote 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.

Strong resourceful communities: The case for a Community Wealth Fund asks the government to go further than the £35m identified in the Strategy [3] by committing the next wave of unclaimed financial assets to a new £1-2b endowment to support ‘left behind’ communities.

The Community Wealth Fund identifies unclaimed assets from bonds, shares, insurance policies and pension funds, supplemented by other dormant assets including those trapped in charitable trusts whose purposes are no longer feasible. An endowment of this kind, which the Alliance believes could also attract corporate support, might over time value in the region of £5b.

A consensus is already emerging around how these dormant or ‘trapped’ funds could be used most effectively for the benefit of society.

The Proposal for a Community Wealth Fund aims to meet the ambitions of the Civil Society Strategy by:

  • creating substantial place-based investment programmes [4]
  • introducing a new model of investment bringing together finance from a range of sources to raise social and economic outcomes
  • developing new approaches in communities that have not benefited from growth and where there is a lack of capacity and capability to access investment. [5]

Stuart Etherington, Chief Executive of NCVO says: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 says:“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 for a Community Wealth Fund has been 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. 


[1] The Proposal for a Community Wealth Fund (CWF) is available at

[2] Civil Society Strategy, published on 9 August 2018:…

[3] Source: Civil Society Strategy, page 60, Big Society Capital and Access (The Foundation for Social Investment) will devote around £35 million of dormant accounts funding to initiating this effort. The funds will deliberately design in a high level of flexibility and the ability to respond to local needs, and will be co-designed with communities. Big Society Capital will work closely with other national and local funders and civil society organisations to ensure the work is fully joined up with other activities and to promote the principle of collaboration.”

[4] Source: Civil Society Strategy, page 51, ‘Chapter 2 PLACES: empowerment and investment for local communities’.

[5] Source: Civil Society Strategy, page 59, ‘New models of finance’.