The Prince’s Regeneration Trust has been awarded a £200,000 grant from the Big Lottery Fund to develop a new multi-million pound fund that will provide finance for social enterprises that want to restore at-risk local buildings.
The fund, which the trust hopes will be worth "tens of millions of pounds", will help social enterprises to buy empty or neglected local assets for redevelopment in partnership with local communities.
The trust will use the £200,000 grant to set up the fund and seek investment from wealthy investors and other organisations, such as charities and social investment companies.
Ros Kerslake, chief executive of the PRT, said the fund, which is expected to be operational from 2015, will provide a proportion of the financial backing for "significant" multi-million pound projects, in the form of loans or equity investment.
She said she did not yet know how much funding would be available in total, but hoped that it would be tens of millions of pounds.
Kerslake said the fund would invest in projects that would create skills and save jobs in some of the most deprived communities of the UK.
Over the first six months, the grant would help the trust develop a clearly structured fund proposition, provide a more detailed measurement of the social impact of the investment and give an indication of the geographical areas covered by the fund, she said.
"£200,000 is development funding to enable us to get legal advice and other advice to put the fund together," said Kerslake.
The PRT works with local people to help rescue and restore important British buildings at risk of being lost through demolition or decay.
Its projects have so far attracted more than £100m in outside investment. Kerslake said the fund would allow it to provide more immediate funding for projects.
"We are very excited to be creating a strong proposition that will attract new sources of capital to the social investment market," she said.
Annual demand for social investment in the community sector is set to increase to £115m by 2015 from £52m in 2012, according to research by the Boston Consulting Group on behalf of the social investment wholesaler Big Society Capital.