What is a Development Trust?

Development trusts are community organisations which:

  • are owned and managed by the local community
  • aim to achieve the sustainable regeneration of a community or address a range of economic, social,environmental and cultural issues within a community
  • are independent but seek to work in partnership with other private, public and third sector organisations
  • aim to attract inward investment via grants, etc. and where possible to generate income. Trading surpluses are principally reinvested in the organisation or the community.

What do they do?

Local people set up development trusts to tackle local issues and to improve the quality of life in their community. As a result, development trusts become involved in a very wide range of activities.

Based around the birth and early years of Comrie Development Trust (Perthshire), this ‘Inspiring Change’ video from DTA Scotland highlights the different stages of, and key elements for, a successful development trust.

Despite the diversity that is reflected in what they do, all development trusts are underpinned by a strong ethos of self help and self reliance and a belief that community regeneration which is achieved through community owned enterprise and assets is the way to build strong and sustainable communities.

These are just some of the activities which development trusts are currently involved in: running the local shop and post office, developing play park and recreational facilities, managing a housing development, developing renewable energy projects such as wind farms, managed workspaces, setting up training programmes, running childcare or youth services, preserving the local heritage, restoring and conserving historic buildings, countryside ranger service, running the village petrol pump, a multi purpose arts and crafts centre, property development, tourism, environmental improvements, childcare, furniture recycling, running a sports centre, commercial forestry and woodland management.

In short, anything and everything that might help build a vibrant and sustainable community.