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Development Trusts

Development trusts are enterprises created by communities to enable sustainable development in their area. They are engaged in the economic, environmental and social regeneration of a local area or a community with a shared interest.

The Development Trust Association says that a development trust:

  • aims for financial viable independent, sustainability and not-for-private-profit;
  • generates an income through enterprise and delivery of services and trading;
  • is community based, owned and managed;
  • is actively involved in partnerships and alliances between the community, voluntary, private and public sectors;
  • promotes sustainable development and building sustainable communities.

There is no one-size-fits-all development trust. They come in many different shapes and sizes and are involved in a wide range of activities, services and facilities to the communities they serve. These may include running a local shop, managing a housing development, developing renewable energy projects such as wind farms, setting up training programmes.

There is no set form of legal structure, and a development trust may be registered as a company limited by guarantee, a community interest company or an industrial and provident society. Many register as charities.