A total of £330m from dormant accounts is set to be released to support projects for housing vulnerable people and helping disadvantaged young people into work, the government has announced.
The money, which has come from bank and building society accounts that have not been accessed for 15 years or more, will be given out by the Big Lottery Fund and Big Society Capital over the next four years, according to a statement made today by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
Added to the £360m previously directed to good causes, this funding will bring the total handed out by the dormant accounts scheme since it was launched under the Labour government in 2008 to more than £0.5bn.
Of the £330m, up to £135m will be given to BSC to fund stable, long-term accommodation for vulnerable people such as homeless people and those with mental health difficulties, as well as providing support for local charities and social enterprises, the statement said.
This will include £10m for BSC’s sister organisation Access – the Foundation for Social Investment.
A DCMS spokeswoman said the money distributed by BSC would be given out as investment loans rather than grants.
The government statement said about £90m of the funds would support projects helping disadvantaged young people into employment through initiatives that would be designed by the DCMS, the BLF and the Department for Education, with input from young people.
Another £55m will be awarded to financial inclusion initiatives to help people tackle problem debt and improve access to financial products and services.
The remaining £50m will be earmarked for good causes in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland and will be distributed by the BLF.
The DCMS spokeswoman said there would be announcements in due course about how charities and social enterprises could access the funding.
Tracey Crouch, the Minister for Sport and Civil Society, said: "By unlocking millions of pounds from dormant accounts for a range of good causes, we can make a real difference to lives and communities across the country."
She said she was grateful to the banks and building societies involved and to Reclaim Fund, the organisation that administers the dormant assets scheme.
"Working in close partnership with the financial sector and civil society, we are determined to help create a country that works for everyone and build a Britain fit for the future," said Crouch.
In a joint statement, Cliff Prior, chief executive of BSC, and Seb Elsworth, chief executive of Access, said the capital would enable many more charities and social enterprises to deliver larger and more innovative solutions to issues such as homelessness and to support communities experiencing disadvantage.
Dawn Austwick, chief executive of the BLF, said: "This funding will give people the opportunity to take the lead in making lasting and sustainable change in their lives and communities."
Peter Holbrook, chief executive of the umbrella body Social Enterprise UK, said it was right the funding should help disadvantaged young people into work.
But he said changes in policy to address the causes of some of these problems were missing from the announcement.
"There is a danger that we are spending money on treating the symptoms and not curing the disease," he said. "We need to see a change in tack over the roll-out of universal credit and benefit sanctioning, real progress on building genuinely affordable housing, tighter regulation of online and high-street gambling and lending, stronger employment rights and better routes into vocational work for young people."