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Government’s Revitalising Trusts initiative to unlock funds for local charitable groups

Aug 28, 2018

There is good news for Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) and the wider network of charities, voluntary groups and social enterprises working in the heart of our communities, following an announcement in the Government’s Civil Society Strategy, released earlier this month [09/08/2018].

Sixteen charitable trusts, currently worth over £2.3m, have transferred to Somerset Community Foundation since its inception 15 years ago, most recently the transfers of the Graham Burrough Charitable Trust and the Cheeke and Stodgell Trust. The Government’s Revitalising Trusts initiative now aims to unlock a further £20m of inactive trusts through a partnership with UK Community Foundations and the Charity Commission.

Charitable Trusts may struggle to use their income for a number of reasons, including:

  • Their original purpose is out of date
  • Trustees struggle to find suitable organisations or people to support
  • The real value of the fund has been eroded
  • The trust is unable to find new trustees
  • The burden of administration becomes too onerous

Community Foundations are established, trusted charities that support local communities, reaching every postcode in the UK. Able to focus on the most pressing needs in their communities, they are leading grant makers, with a strong track record. Community Foundations work with a trusted model of delivery and are best placed to be able to adapt the purpose of the inactive trust to make it relevant to the needs of local communities today.

Tracey Crouch, the Minister for Civil Society, said: “This initiative will make a real difference to people and communities across the country. By working with UK Community Foundations and the Charity Commission, we will honour the original aims of these now inactive charitable trusts by redistributing funds to help those that need it most.”

Elsewhere in the strategy the Government recognised the importance of grants and other forms of social finance, a welcome message for the sector following a long period of decline in grants programmes. There was also a spotlight placed on the importance of ‘collaborative, place-based and peer-influenced giving’.

Justin Sargent, Chief Executive at Somerset Community Foundation, said: “I welcome the announcement in the Government’s Civil Society Strategy to breathe new life into inactive trusts in Somerset and beyond, so that we can continue to fulfil the founders’ wishes to help people overcome disadvantage, poverty and inequality. These are important assets for our communities today and for generations to come and we can provide the necessary stewardship to make sure our communities benefit.”

Trustees of existing charitable trusts can contact Justin Sargent at Somerset Community Foundation on: 01749 344949 or email: info@somersetcf.org.uk


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