Big Society Capital and Big Lottery Fund pledge £250m for community investment

The pledge includes a £50m fund, which Nick O'Donohoe, head of BSC, says will boost the development of community owned assets

Nick O’Donohoe
Nick O’Donohoe

Big Society Capital and the Big Lottery Fund have pledged £250m for community investment over the next 10 years. 

Speaking at the Social Impact Investment Conference in London this morning, David Cameron, the Prime Minister, launched a £50m Community Assets Fund, developed by BSC and the BLF.

The fund is part of a commitment by the two organisations to provide £250m of finance over the next 10 years to help communities own local assets.

The fund, which will start making payments next year, will provide grants and loans to help communities own assets such as pubs, shops, community centres and affordable housing.

A spokesman for BSC said it would allocate about 20 per cent of its anticipated £600m capital over the long term to support community assets. The BLF has committed £150m towards grants for community asset transformation and ownership as part of its Enriching Places programme.

Cameron said that many of the assets bought by communities could be run on a commercial basis "given the right mix of up-front funding".

He said the Community Assets Fund would enable community groups to explore the feasibility of projects without incurring major debts if they decided not to proceed.

"At the same time, long-term loans will be available to those that do go ahead – attracting further funding from local authorities, philanthropists and local enterprise partnerships," said Cameron.

Nick O’Donohoe, chief executive of BSC, said: "Big Society Capital recently celebrated its first anniversary and announced several new commitments for the year ahead to plug gaps in the market for financing social ventures.

"This includes looking at a fund alongside the BLF for financing all stages of community asset development. We believe a dedicated fund could provide a significant boost to the development of community owned assets in the UK."

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