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£5m community asset scheme launches for Welsh charities

19 Nov 2021 News

Charities in Wales will be able to borrow up to £300,000 to take over local assets under a new scheme.

The Community Asset Loan Fund (CALF) is funded by the Welsh government and managed by the Welsh Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA). Interested charities have been advised to contact WCVA directly.

WCVA said that interest rates on repayments may be reduced for charities which pay the real living wage and have plans to address their environmental impact. 

Since November 2016, Cynnal Cymru – Sustain Wales has been the Living Wage Foundation’s official accreditation partner in Wales, and over 300 employers have been accredited.

The current rate for Wales is £9.90. From next April the legal minimum living wage, set by the UK government, will be £9.50. 

£5m scheme

The £5m scheme will make loans to charities and other groups which want to buy or refurbish properties so that they be brought back into use for the community.

The CALF has been “designed to reward those who can demonstrate a commitment to tackling poverty or climate change”, WCVA said in a statement.

Interest on loan repayments may be reduced by up to 1% for applicants which are, or will become, accredited for paying the living wage, as well as organisations which are implementing an environmental action plan.

Charities will be able to borrow up to 100% of the full property value.

Loans and small grants

Social Investment Cymru, which is part of WCVA, is working with Cynnal Cymru, a leading sustainable development organisation in Wales, to deliver the project.

Loans will be combined with small grants available when an asset is purchased, intended to help charities develop and implement an environmental action plan for managing their new property.

Helping communities ‘long into the future’

Alun Jones, head of Social Investment Cymru at WCVA, encouraged charities and social enterprises in Wales to contact his organisation, and said that he hoped “the scheme will allow groups to continue to make meaningful contributions to their communities long into the future”. 

Social Investment Cymru can be emailed at [email protected].

Jane Hutt, the minister for social justice in the Welsh government, said: “The voluntary sector in Wales is a vital part of the support for our communities and I am delighted to see the CALF launching during Charity Week. This fund will help communities take ownership of the land and buildings they value the most.

“Community-owned and operated facilities help deliver our wellbeing objectives to make our cities, towns and villages even better places in which to live and work, and to embed our response to the climate and nature emergency in everything we do.”

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