Dormant assets can fuel social investment boom for small and Black led charities, says coalition

A coalition of charities, social enterprises and social investment leaders wants to see the planned expansion of the dormant asset scheme used to boost Black led social investment and improved finance opportunities for small charities.

The Community Enterprise Growth Plan is backed by a coalition including the National Association for Voluntary and Community Action and community business body Power to Change.

The plan has been launched as the government is set to consult on the future use of dormant assets in England.

The Dormant Assets scheme is currently used by 35 banks and building societies to release £800m to good causes. Under plans to be consulted on this summer this will be expanded to release a further £880m to include dormant assets from the insurance, pensions, investment and securities sectors.

The coalition backed plan calls on government to ensure additional dormant assets funding helps smaller charities and social enterprises to access “suitable and affordable finance through blending grants and loans”. This needs to be prioritised in areas “most in need of investment”, it adds.

Dormant assets should also be used to fund a £50m Black-led social investment fund. This was recommended by the Adebowale Commission on Social Investment, to tackle inequality in social investment.

In addition, dormant assets should fund a “vibrant network of non-profit lenders” to “offer affordable finance to community businesses and small enterprises in areas unable to access mainstream lending”.

“A new ‘Community Enterprise Growth Plan’ focuses on the untapped potential for growing enterprises with a social purpose across the country, particularly in places and communities that have been deprived of investment in the past,” said the coalition.

“This includes areas identified by the index of multiple deprivation and those led by or serving protected groups such as people from ethnic minority backgrounds, those with an impairment or facing gender bias.

“The plan centres on providing increased access to capital, dedicated funding to encourage the growth of trading activity, and tailored business support.”

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