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Jul 24

New research released into the funding for community assets

Assets

Grange Court

Amelia Robinson, Research Manager at Heritage Lottery Fund and Stephen Rolph, Head of Community Assets and Enterprise at Locality reflect on results from recently completed Locality/HLF research on heritage Lottery funding for asset transfer.

As many as 250 local authorities have carried out at least one community asset transfer over the last five years, with around 10% of authorities having carried out more than 20. Though no definitive figure exists, it’s likely there have been at least 1,000 asset transfers in total over this time. But research conducted by Locality and Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has shown that less than a 100 of these have been part of a HLF project.

The results pose a question for HLF – should it be looking at ways to increase our funding in this area?

Although HLF has no specific funding programmes to support community ownership and management of assets, projects involving asset transfer could be eligible for funding through several of its open and targeted programmes.

Locality undertook a review of HLF data, to better understand the extent of funding that has enabled, supported or followed the transfer of ownership or management of local authority assets to community organisations. Projects funded since the 2011 Localism Act were included in the analysis.

The research is now complete and identified a total of 96 projects that involved a community asset transfer. This is about 2% of HLF funded projects over the period – which seems quite low. Stephen sees several reasons for why this number may be low:

“Perhaps there’s a lack of awareness about the potential of HLF’s role in the field of asset transfer, and/or there’s something particular about the supply of heritage assets for disposal that skews the outcome. I suspect that the complex/difficult nature of heritage assets also plays its part. It can take a long time to build the confidence and capacity of organisations and that is hard for volunteers to do without support.”

It was encouraging to see that a large proportion of those community organisations which have been funded were from ‘non-heritage’ organisations and some were Locality members. In these cases, the heritage asset was more of a means to serve the needs of their local population rather than their core reason for being. These organisations are likely to be an important group for HLF to work with in order to understand how we can support them and others in the future.

“Although the overall funding level for community asset transfers is small, it was positive to see that the number we’ve supported has gone up over the last few years” says Amelia Robinson. “This is in line with the upward trend in demand for community asset ownership, which we want to continue to support.”

For the full findings, visit the HLF website.

Read the research report here.

2 comments

  1. Alexander Hopkinson-Woolley

    Posted 03/08/17 at 10:25 am  |  Permalink

    Very interesting house, but where?

  2. Bec Speidel

    Bec Speidel

    Posted 08/08/17 at 9:19 am  |  Permalink

    This is Grange Court in Leominster – http://www.grangecourt.org/. It is a Grade II* listed building, owned by the community via LARC Development Trust.

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