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Development Trust


Development trusts are part of the community and social enterprise movement and are enterprises created by communities to enable sustainable development in their area. This means they are community-based organizations engaging in trading, growing enterprises, providing services and working alongside the local voluntary sector, public authorities and private sector. They are driven by a belief that community regeneration that is achieved through community-owned enterprise is the way to build strong and sustainable communities.


Some community enterprises go further and develop a range of different enterprises, products, services and projects to meet a range of different social, economic and environmental needs in their community. This type of community enterprise is called a development trust, and most development trusts aim to achieve their goals by making profits through trading and securing building and managing assets for their communities such as land, buildings and equipment. These profits are not-for-private-benefit and are used to create community wealth and are reinvested with a lasting impact on the renewal and improvement of an area.


The activities undertaken by development trusts are various and include:

  • running the local shop and post office;
  • developing play areas and recreational facilities;
  • managing a housing development;
  • developing renewable energy projects such as wind farms;
  • setting up training programmes.


Criteria for a Development Trust:

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


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.


Estimates are that there are over 500 development trusts throughout the UK.


Sources: Locality, Wikipedia, Development Trusts Association of Wales.


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Type of initiative Company, Other (specify): Development Trust
Field of work Agriculture, Trade, Services, other, Knowledge and information, Culture, Other (non-profit)
Date of commencement
Legal form company limited by guarantee, a community interest company, or an industrial and provident society. Many register as charities.
Continent Europe
Country United Kingdom
City All over the UK
One or several keywords that describe your initiative Community Enterprise, social enterprise, sustainable development, community-based organizations, community wealth
Publications News, a jargon buster, DTA Wales videos library, toolkits and sources of support.
More information Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn

Contact person(s)


Contact information

Name DTA Wales
Address Suite 1b, 2nd Floor, Stangate House, Stanwell Road, Penarth
Zip/postal code CF64 2AA
Place Vale of Glamorgan
Country United Kingdom
Phone +44 029 2019 0260
E-mail Via contact form on website



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