The Nationwide Foundation has welcomed an independent evaluation into the National Community Land Trust Network’s Community Land Trust Start-up Fund. It comes a full decade after the first fund of this kind was launched in 2008.
The evaluation found that the most recent fund saw over 200 community-led housing groups awarded over £700,000. This funding was used in a range of ways, from training days offering expert support to new groups, to small grants to cover early costs. The result of this support is clear; groups who received support from the Start-up Fund have built 367 homes, with a further 3000 in the pipeline.
With financial support from the Nationwide Foundation, the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and the Tudor Trust, plus additional support from CAF Venturesome and a private donor, the decade-long funding stream has kick-started the growth of the community land trust movement across England and Wales.
Importantly, the evaluation also confirmed a crucial truth for funders of community-led housing; that this type of early-stage funding must exist in the future to help community land trusts in their first stages.
Gary Hartin, who manages the Nationwide Foundation’s Backing Community-Led Housing programme said: “It has been a real privilege to have stood alongside other funders on this journey and to have seen the growth of the community-led housing movement over the last decade.”
“This evaluation makes some clear points. Of course, it’s a great explanation of the hard work that community land trusts are doing up and down the country, but it also gives funders like us food for thought. By providing relatively small amounts of funding in the early stages, the ability of community groups to create the homes they want and need is accelerated. At the Nationwide Foundation, we have a long-term commitment to improving the availability of decent homes that are truly affordable; community-led housing, and even after 10 years, this remains a key part of that strategy.”