Over 400 organisations have joined a campaign calling on the government to use dormant assets to advance "left-behind" communities, as the backers plan a week of activity to increase pressure on the government.
The Community Wealth Fund Alliance is made up of civil society, public and private sector organisations, and so far has 449 members.
The Dormant Assets Bill was introduced in parliament earlier this year, and is in the report stage of the House of Lords. The bill will unearth up to £880m for social and environmental initiatives across the country. This will be made up of dormant or unclaimed stocks, insurance and pension funds.
The alliance is lobbying the government to commit this money to its independent endowment, The Community Wealth Fund, in the Bill or upcoming Levelling Up White Paper.
Levelling up ‘left behind’ communities
Research conducted by Oxford Consultants for Social Inclusion (OCSI) and Local Trust has identified 225 "left behind" neighbourhoods, which exhibit higher unemployment rates, poorer health and lower educational attainment.
In light of this research, The Community Wealth Fund has established four key principles they believe would tackle these issues:
- Provision of long-term funding (10-15 years)
- Neighbourhood investment
- Community-led decision making
- Building community confidence and capacity
The money would be used to rebuild "left behind" communities social infrastructures and to combat the socio-economic challenges felt in these areas, The Community Wealth Fund has said.
Community Wealth Fund Week
This week, the campaign celebrates its first Community Wealth Fund week (1-5 November). Its aim is to build awareness of The Community Wealth Fund’s mission and to encourage more organisations to join the Alliance.
As part of the celebration, Alliance members are able to attend various events and online workshops. More research supporting the fund, resources and infographics will be shared on its Twitter account throughout the week.
To join the Community Wealth Fund campaign, organisations can sign up at communitywealthfund.org.uk/signup. CWF is encouraging others to get involved by using the hashtag #CWFweek on Twitter.
The budget’s promise
Matt Leach, chief executive of the Local Trust, stressed the relevance of the campaign following the announcements made in the autumn budget and spending review last Wednesday.
He said: “Last week the chancellor reaffirmed the government’s commitment to levelling up our most ‘left behind’ communities. We now call on them to see this commitment through by dedicating the next wave of dormant assets to a Community Wealth Fund capable of investing in the long-term social infrastructure of those neighbourhoods, with local people in the lead.
“Trusting local people to make spending decisions to strengthen their own communities would speak volumes to places that feel forgotten or ignored. This is an excellent opportunity for government to show that levelling up is about more than just the economy, it is also about ensuring that the neighbourhoods we live in benefit from the social infrastructure we know is so critical to ensuring strong community and the best possible quality of life.”