Start-up funding is designed to help you go through the 5 W’s and an H questions - What? When? Where? Why? Who? And How? in the early stages of your project.

CLT Start Up Fund - The CLT Start-Up Fund offers support and funding to CLTs in three stages. Stages 1 and 2 offer the opportunity to meet with CLT experts to discuss initial ideas and offer advice and guidance. At Stage 3 CLTs may apply for a grant of up to £4000 to formally set up the CLT and develop a business plan. Stage 1 and 2 applications are considered on a rolling basis and the Fund committee meet every 2 months to consider new Stage 3 applications.

Locality: Early Stage Support Programme - Locality's Early Stage Support Programme, funded by the Nationwide Foundation, is a two year programme that started in 2016. It provides expert assistance and a small amount of grant money to help community-led housing projects in the critical early stages of their project. The project focusses on urban and deprived areas. Please note that the application deadline for 2016 has already passed.

Community Buildings and Housing Grant Programme - There are two grants available under this government scheme: the Community Buildings Pre-Feasibility Grant of up to £10,000 and the Community Buildings Project Support Grant of up to £40,000. The Pre-Feasibility grant can help a CLT to assess feasibility prior to submitting a Community Right to Build Order or a traditional planning application and the Project Support grant is designed to help progress such applications to the point of submission. The fund is available until March 2018.

Power to Change: Community Business Fund - Power to Change is an independent charitable trust set up in January 2015 who are using a £150m endowment from the Big Lottery Fund to support community businesses in England. From their Business Community Fund they are awarding grants of £50,000 to £300,000 to help with a wide range of costs. The third window for applications is now open until 16th December 2016.

Local grants – Local authorities, town or parish councils and local or regional charities are increasingly aware of CLTs and can be willing to support CLTs in their early stages. Support provided may include start-up grants, in-kind technical expertise or access to facilities.

To build your project you'll need development finance. You'll need capital funding to buy the land or assets and build the homes and you'll need revenue funding to manage and maintain rented properties.

The CLT Social Investment Fund - The CLT Social Investment Fund is part of the CLT Fund and is managed by CAF Venturesome. It provides both pre-development finance of up to £100,000 and developments loans of up to £400,000 to help CLTs to progress their housing schemes. The loans are designed to get homes built and to help attract further finance from mainstream lenders. Loans are repayable with interest.

The Affordable Homes Rental Fund - The Affordable Homes Rental Fund provides loan finance to community groups to provide affordable rental properties. They will lend up to 100% of the capital required by a CLT to pursue an investment. The Affordable Homes Rental Fund is operated by Community Land and Finance CIC, a community development finance institution managed by Resonance Ltd. 

The Community Investment Fund - The Community Investment Fund provides loans of between £250,000 and £2m to community-focused, locally-led organisations. Social and Sustainable Capital, the managers of the fund, are keen to engage with CLTs looking to raise development capital to improve social outcomes in their area. Loan repayments are through sale of property or loan refinance, depending on the business model

Big Potential – Big Lottery Fund has announced an additional £10m for its investment readiness programme, Big Potential, meaning that a total of £20m is now available to Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) organisations.

Lenders - Some examples of charitable and ethical lenders that have funded CLTs previously are are keen to lend in this sector include: Charity Bank, Ecology Building Society, Triodos Bank, Unity Trust Bank, Big Issue Invest and CAF Venturesome. Banks or building societies will often only lend up to 60-70% of the capital needed so this will need to be topped up by other means.

Government - The Government itself operates grant and loan programmes that may be open to CLTs. Currently the Shared Ownership and Affordable Homes Programme 2016 – 2021, the Coastal Communities Fund and the Custom Build Serviced Plots Loan Fund are all available for CLTs to apply to, please contact us for more details.

Community Share Issue – Community share issues have raised millions of pounds in the last five years to enable village shops and pubs to be saved, to support community-led renewable energy projects and to invest in local social enterprises and workers' co–operatives.

Low-cost community share issues are possible because of two things. Firstly, community Benefit Societies can issue withdrawable shares – shares which investors can, or should be able to, cash in on request to get the money back that they invested. Secondly, withdrawable shares are exempt from the rigorous requirements normally imposed on public share offers under the Financial Services & Markets Act. It means community share issues, on average only for about £200,000, can take place without the need for extremely expensive lawyers' and advisers' fees.

Crowdfunding – Numerous websites have sprung up offering one version of crowdfunding or another. The websites allow those seeking finance to publish details of their project including how much cash they need, how they will use it and how investors stand to profit (if at all) in future. Some of the sites vet the fund-raisers – others don't. In most cases the investors, who can usually subscribe as little as £10 per venture, are offered ‘shares’ in the business venture.

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