An alliance of charity bodies have called on the government to use £2bn in unclaimed financial assets to create a Community Wealth Fund, which they say could grow to £5bn with corporate support.
Local Trust, a place-based funder, has published a report making the case for a Community Wealth Fund. The aim is to create a source of long-term funding for place-based initiatives to help strengthen communities.
It says that by pooling the £2bn of unclaimed assets that have already been identified and earmarked for the charity sector with private sector investment, and other unclaimed assets that have not yet been identified, a new £5bn fund could “deliver transformative social, economic and financial impact”.
The proposal has the support of 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 was developed in consultation with a number of other sector bodies.
Sir Stuart Etherington, chief executive of NCVO said: “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.”
Matt Leach, chief executive of Local Trust said: “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 paper calls for the establishment of an “independent and credible taskforce” to take its proposal forward.
£2bn of unclaimed assets promised to charities
In 2017 the Dormant Assets Commission identified £2bn in unclaimed assets, which the then charities minister Rob Wilson said would go to good causes.
Earlier this summer the government appointed four champions for the insurance and pensions, banking, investment and wealth management, and securities industries to work with various stakeholders.
They are due to report back to the government by the end of the year.