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Dormant Assets Commission should talk with community organisations – Locality

Community-led organisations network Locality has responded to the appointment of eight new commissioners to unlock dormant assets for charity, saying it is important that the new initiative benefits communities.

The Dormant Assets Commission announced eight new commissioners from the business sector on Thursday, who will use their expertise to identify accounts, bonds and other assets which have been dormant for the past 15 years, and encourage them to give the money to charity.

The new commissioners, including figures such as PwC global vice-chairman Richard Collier-Keywood and Aviva general counsel and company secretary Kirsty Cooper, have exclusively business backgrounds, prompting Locality to call for them to work closer with communities.

Tony Armstrong, chief executive of Locality, said: “It is essential that the sector is brought into conversations with the Dormant Assets Commission about how these funds can be used to strengthen and support communities, including how investments can be directed to develop community resilience through asset ownership.

“We want to see these dormant assets - like unused stocks and shares – brought to life by investing them in community owned land and buildings, creating active, thriving community assets which act as the cornerstones of their neighbourhoods.

“Used right, this fund can support communities and the people who live in them, and make the voluntary sector more sustainable and self-reliant in the long-term.”

The current Dormant Accounts Scheme has raised more than £850m since 2008, and the Cabinet Office predict that the new scheme could unlock over £1bn.

Rob Wilson, parliamentary secretary to the Cabinet Office, said: “The creation of the Dormant Asset Commission demonstrates that this government has ambitious plans to reform and improve the sector, enabling us to build an even more caring and compassionate country.”

With local councils warning of the harmful impact of further cuts in the upcoming Budget, public sector social care services are likely to suffer and the third sector will have to take on more of the burden, so it is vital that as much funding as possible is utilised for the organisations that can best help communities.

(Image of Coin Street Community Builders in London c. Edward Sumner)


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