Start up funding

The CLT Start Up Fund offers grant funding to support you to take your CLT affordable housing scheme from the initial “glimmer in the eye” idea through to an investment-ready proposal. It follows 3 stages, tracing the journey you’ll make to work up your scheme.

We support communities to answer the first questions about whether a CLT is right for you. We also offer expertise and funding to help you develop your ideas into an investment-ready business plan.

The Start Up Fund comes in three stages:

  • Stage 1 – Scopeout your idea with a technical adviser, with one day of support worth £500. We have a network of highly experienced advisors right across England and Wales who can come to you to help you flesh out your ideas and work out if a CLT is right for you.
  • Stage 2 – If you decide that a CLT is right for you and your plans show potential, Stage 2 will give you a further 2 days of support with a technical advisor. They will help you set out clear aims for your CLT, build a strong steering group, start to develop your business plan, look at sites you might buy, and ensure you have a solid idea of your next steps.
  • Stage 3 – A grant of up to £4,000 to help you get your CLT set-up and investment ready. Stage 3 of the Start Up Fund can be used to meet costs such as: legal incorporation fees, support in preparing your business plan, technical costs such as early site surveys or outline drawings, community engagement costs such as support with community-led design excercises. This list is by no means exhaustive of the activities we will fund and as the Start Up Fund is a specialist fund for CLTs, we try to be as flexible in deciding what costs we will support.

Can you apply?

The Start Up Fund has three essential criteria which must be met by applicants at all stages.

  • Applicants must be based in England or Wales.
  • Applicants must be working towards incorporation (or already be incorporated) in a form which meets the statutory definition of a CLT (found by following this link). This can take the form of various legal entities such as a Company Limited by Guarantee, a Community Interest Company or an Industrial and Provident Society but it must have an asset lock; see the statutory definition below.
  • Applicants must be working towards a scheme which is at least 50% housing. We can only support schemes which will include permanently affordable housing although we will consider schemes which are delivering other assets in addition. If your scheme will deliver a mix of assets (for example, homes and commercial units) we will want to see that the majority of your focus is on the housing element of your scheme.

Applicants to Stage 3 of the Start Up Fund must also be members of the National CLT Network. This is because we believe you will need access to the support and resources available from the Network. Find out more about joining the National CLT Network here.

How to Apply

To apply, please download the application form for stages 1&2 or for stage 3 (at the bottom of this page) and return it to Polly Adams-Felton by post or email:

National CLT Network, 7-14 Great Dover Street, London, SE1 4YR or

Stage 1 applications are considered on a rolling basis so there is no deadline for these applications. Stage 3 applications are assessed at regular panel meetings, held approximately every six weeks. The next deadline for Stage 3 applications is the 14th December 2018.

We are always pleased to offer early guidance or feedback on initial drafts of your application form. Please contact Polly Adams-Felton at or on 020 3096 7793 if you would like to ask for advice.

For further information and guidance in completing your application, please read the Application Guidance documents downloadable at the bottom of this page.

Our Funders

The Tudor Trust is an independent grant-making trust which supports organisations which work directly with people who are at the margins of society. Tudor focuses on supporting smaller, community-led organisations which have a real understanding of the challenges facing the communities they support, and a clear sense of the difference they want to make through their work.

The Esmée Fairbairn Foundation aims to improve the quality of life throughout the UK through funding organisations that have the ideas and ability to achieve change for the better. The Foundation’s primary interests are in the UK’s cultural life, education, the natural environment and enabling people who are disadvantaged to participate more fully in society.

Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) is a registered charity that works to make the most of money for charities and social enterprises. Over the years CAF has been instrumental in pioneering and incubating funding solutions, including Venturesome and Charity Bank.

CAF Venturesome provides capital to charities and social enterprises, operating in the space between providers of charitable grants and providers of bank loans at market rates. Since its launch by CAF in 2002, £15m has been offered to over 250 organisations. For more information visit: 

The Nationwide Foundation is a registered charity and independent funder of charitable causes committed to making a significant difference to people’s lives. Through its ‘Decent, Affordable Homes’ funding strategy the Nationwide Foundation makes grants and social investments in pursuit of its vision for everyone in the UK to have access to a decent home which they can afford.


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