Based on the experience of our members the DTA believes that development trusts are particularly successful for 3 main reasons:
In the last twenty years, many communities and neighbourhoods across Wales and the UK have faced increasing difficulties and continuing poverty. Both jobs and services have gone from disadvantaged communities. In urban communities homes are abandoned or unaffordable; in rural communities few affordable homes are available. The loss of skills caused by unemployment which, in some neighbourhoods, has tainted two generations has left those communities less and less able to take advantage of the chances that do come along or cope with change.
Two decades or more of regeneration programmes have left behind some (but often only very limited) long-term improvements. Where there has been an improvement in the economy the gap between our richest and poorest neighbourhoods has widened dramatically. Long term economic and social decline has brought low morale and a sense of powerlessness and an increased sense of exclusion. The top-down road to regeneration and change has made little impression or benefited the few.
More and more communities are now creating their own organisations - development trusts - to help reverse the trend of social and economic decline and build social renewal.
Development trusts provide the vehicle for communities to get active, make things happen to build their skills, to deliver practical change and to recover their belief in themselves and each other.
Development trusts help foster a new spirit of community owned enterprise, which is helping to create wealth in communities. They have enabled many communities to relaunch themselves on a path to sustainable growth and development.
Active communities and community and social enterprise's and community owned asset development are the essential building blocks for sustainable long-term change. The idea of social and community enterprise is now firmly on the map.