Revitalising inactive trusts

By Kate Markey

Revitalising trusts to support local communities

Local charities make up the lifeblood of our communities and make a daily difference to millions of people. The ‘Revitalising Trusts’ initiative, announced in the Government’s Civil Society Strategy today, will provide a huge boost to local charities by distributing funds from inactive trusts to good causes.

There are many charitable trust funds in England and Wales that are inactive. The original founders and trustees may have passed away and many of the funds are now relatively small pots of money which makes it difficult to ensure they have a meaningful and local impact. Collectively these trusts total a significant amount which could make a huge difference to local communities.

The Office for Civil Society and the Charity Commission are working with UK Community Foundations to transfer up to £20 million of inactive trusts to Community Foundations to invest into local communities. It is expected that this will provide an extra £1 million in grant funding to local community and voluntary groups every year.

This initiative will make a real difference to people and communities across the country. By working with UK Community Foundations and the Charity Commission, we will honour the original aims of these now-inactive charitable trusts by redistributing funds to help those that need it most.
Tracey Crouch, Minister for Civil Society

Community Foundations are established, trusted charities that support local communities across the UK:

  • They reach every postcode in the UK and focus on the most pressing needs in an area. 
  • They are leading grant makers and have a strong track record of supporting communities. 
  • They are reliable with a trusted model of delivery and are all quality accredited.

The Charity Commission and the Office for Civil Society have chosen to work with Community Foundations based on their expertise and experience in supporting communities and ensuring that funds are distributed well to tackle local need. 

We’re glad that the new Civil Society Strategy puts thriving communities front and centre, recognising community foundations as trusted vehicles maximising impact. This initiative to revitalise inactive trusts will benefit those on the frontline, making positive change in their communities up and down the country, especially in our capital city.

We are delighted to be working with the Office for Civil Society and the Charity Commission to unlock these inactive trusts to benefit local communities for years to come. We have developed a simple solution that helps inactive trusts transfer their assets which meets all the required Charity Commission approvals’.
Fabian French, CEO of UK Community Foundation