Community lender to run third sector fund
Herpreet Kaur Grewal, Regeneration & Renewal
The long-awaited Communitybuilders fund is intended to help third sector organisations gain long-term financial stability and move away from grant dependency.
Organisations will be able to apply for loans and grants and have access to expert support and mentoring services. Communitybuilders is specifically designed to strengthen the financial base of ‘community anchor organisations’ such as development trusts. The fund will open for applications later this summer.
The Department for Communities and Local Government has picked ACF to lead the scheme in partnership with third sector fund Futurebuilders England and third sector consortium the Community Alliance.
ACF has also secured a commitment from Unity Trust Bank to provide up to £40 million match funding for the programme.
The Communitybuilders fund was first announced in July last year by then communities secretary Hazel Blears.
However, earlier this year the Conservative Party attacked the DCLG for the length of time it had taken to start the fund (R&R, 1 June, p6).
Third sector minister Angela Smith said the fund would support community organisations through the recession and help them to ’emerge stronger’.