We know from our work on the Big Local programme that when you put power and resources in the hands of local people, brilliant things happen. That’s why we became a founding member of the Community Wealth Fund Alliance in 2018 to ensure the continued investment in communities form the grassroots up. The proposal, modelled on the Big Local programme and other resident-led initiatives, would bring essential long-term, community-led investment to ‘left behind’ neighbourhoods in England.
This kind of investment will not only improve health outcomes, educational attainment, and increased participation in higher education among residents, it will rebuild the social fabric that is integral to building resilient communities – that is, places to meet and networks of engaged residents. As our chief executive Matt Leach puts it:
“Our experience of administering the Big Local programme shows that when deprived communities are given a budget to spend over the long term to improve their area and invest in the projects that matter most to them, it is transformational – giving communities pride in their areas and building their confidence and capacity to meet their communities’ needs.
“The Community Wealth Fund is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to bring this type of investment to ‘left behind’ communities. Local Trust will continue to play its part in making the proposal a reality as a founding member, funder and secretariat of the Community Wealth Fund Alliance.”
A renewed interest in community empowerment – sparked by the Brexit vote in 2016 – has since transformed into a cross-party consensus that communities need a new, radical solution. A sense only strengthened by the neighbourhood-level responses to the pandemic that illustrated the importance of local knowledge, networks and resources in responding to crisis.
Now, the case for long-term, targeted investment is stronger than ever – especially as we look to build back better. Find out more and join the growing chorus of voices calling for the creation of the Community Wealth Fund.
Visit the Community Wealth Fund Alliance website