Funding & finance for community led housing
Updated: Feb 9
We know that arranging funding and finance for community led housing projects is no easy task. Grants are great when we can get them, but there’s definitely a need to think creatively about how to pull together a mixed package of funding and finance to make our community led housing dreams a reality!
We hosted a workshop on this topic last week, and have pulled together the resources from this, a few others and some ideas that might help. This is not intended as a detailed or comprehensive resource on available sources of funding and finance and not all will be suitable for your project - just a few ideas to explore, to get you started...
Notes on the graphic:
1 - Read more about what crowdfunding is and a few community finance platforms here on the Community Led Homes website. Check out match funding available such as Power to Change’s Crowdmatch, or other examples listed on platforms like Crowdfunder and Spacehive.
2 - wMUCH can offer small grants of up to £1000 for help with your community led housing project. Visit the funding page of our website to find out more and apply.
3 - We have a team of advisers who can support you throughout your project and can offer some initial advice for free – please get in touch with us to find out more.
4 - Grants from funders, trusts and foundations – think local, regional and national! They may not have dedicated funds for community led housing, but consider different angles and areas of focus/ interest, such as community benefit, arts or heritage. A few to get you started on the community side - Community Foundations like the Heart of England Community Foundation, National Lottery Community Fund Awards for All, Power to Change, Tudor Trust, Esmée Fairburn, B&Q Foundation. If there’s an arts or heritage angle to you project, have a look at the Arts Council, The National Lottery Heritage Fund or Historic England. This is definitely not an exhaustive list!
5 - Government announced £4m for a renewed Community Housing Fund for 2021/22 on 30th January. We are waiting to hear more details about this Fund.
6 - If you are a co-operative or community benefit society, read more about Community Shares and how to do it at places like the Community Shares Unit. Crowdfunder UK and Ethex are other platforms that CLH organisations have used. Again, there are some great support and match funding opportunities around such as Community Shares Booster Programme funded by Power to Change.
7 - There are some specialist social investment funds for community led housing or developing/ buying property at CAF Venturesome, Social and Sustainable Capital and Resonance. There are plenty of other social investors who might be interested in your project too! The Good Finance website has lots of resources to help you navigate social investment, including a search tool to help find the right social investor for you. Some social investors offer a grant/ loan blend too.
9 - Local Authorities are able to borrow at preferential interest rates from the Publics Works Loan Board. There are examples of City Councils using these funds to invest in community led housing schemes at very competitive rates. For example, Leeds City Council invested in Chapeltown Cohousing and Hull City Council invested in the Goodwin Development Trust.
11 - There are a few socially minded banks with a track record in lending to community led housing organisations – try Triodos Bank, Ecology Building Society, Unity Trust Bank, Charity Bank, or local building societies.
12 - Section 106 is a legal agreement between a developer seeking planning permission and the local planning authority, to mitigate the impact of the development on the local community and infrastructure. It is likely to include certain requirements around affordability, for example. Bradwell CLT in the Peak District acquired 12 new build houses from a private development at no cost as the Section 106 contribution from the developer, as written into the Neighbourhood Plan.
Other resources to check out:
The Community Led Homes website pulls together some of the most common sources of funding and finance for community led housing projects: Get funding | Community Led Homes
In January 21, we hosted a workshop exploring some creative ways of funding and financing community led housing projects. You can download our guest speakers’ slides and watch their talks below:
· Partnership arrangements – working with different kinds of developers to gain access to capital - by Tom Moore, University of Liverpool
· Individual and community funding – such as community shares and crowdfunding - by Josh Lawson & Andy Lloyd, Leeds Community Homes