Early-stage support and funding is critical for a thriving community led housing sector

Tuesday 11 August 2020

An independent evaluation of the National CLT Network's Start Up Fund says the programme has advanced the community led housing sector as a whole and proven the need for early-stage support.

The Start Up Fund ran for ten years between 2008-2018 and can be credited for the movement’s rapid growth. During the same period, the number of CLTs in England and Wales increased from 20 to nearly 300.

The Start Up Fund in numbers

  • £711,000 was distributed to more than 200 community groups during the Fund’s lifetime.
  • Recipients were awarded grants of up to £4,000 as well as access to technical advisers.
  • 81% of grant recipients said the Fund was critical to their project’s success.
  • Groups supported through the Fund have built 367 homes to date and have plans for over 3,000 more.

The evaluation process has confirmed the importance of seedcorn funding and expert guidance to a community led housing group’s development. Both forms of support were shown to have increased confidence, speed and have a positive and broader impact on local community cohesion.

Groups worked with technical advisers to scope ideas based on the housing need in their local area and produce investment-ready business plans. Grants of up to £4,000 were awarded to cover start-up costs, including community engagement activities, legal and other professional services costs.

Read the full evaluation here.


Tom Chance, join chief executive at the National CLT Network, said:
“I’m really pleased that the Start Up Fund has helped more than 200 communities to start community land trusts. It has been such an important part of the National CLT Network and has been a really positive part of the community led housing movement too.

“As the evaluation proves, early-stage support is essential. Community groups need their handheld to start off on the right track and a bit of money to get going.
“Our Fund paved the way for and informed the design of phase one of the Community Housing Fund to help groups get started. This was also a resounding success. Together they’ve helped new groups and projects start, growing the potential pipeline of community led homes to over 23,000.

“I’m worried that both start up funds are now closed, along with many Lottery and local funds due to the coronavirus. So that kind of support is now quite scarce.

“Community led housing groups are developing much-needed affordable housing and can help us build back better. That’s why the National CLT Network is calling for the government to renew the Community Housing Fund in the Spending Round this Autumn. So lots more communities can go on to build the homes that we need.”


The CLT Start Up Fund was funded by Tudor Trust, Esmee Fairbairn and Nationwide Foundation with the support of CAF Venturesome. The evaluation was conducted by Dr Helen Lawson through an online survey and telephone interviews.

Posted in: Article Featured on Homepage, Funding, Policy and Campaigning

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