Development Trust Association (UK)

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The DTA is a network of community practitioners. We help people set up development trusts, and we help existing trusts learn from each other and work effectively. We also influence government and others at national and local level, to build support and investment for our movement.

We are aiming for a successful development trust in every community. There are now over 450 development trusts in our membership, in both urban and rural areas. While many are still small, others are operating at scale: the combined income is over £275m and development trusts have £565m of assets in community ownership.[1]

Areas of Work

The Development Trusts Association is the leading network of community enterprise practitioners dedicated to helping people set up development trusts and helping existing development trusts learn from each other and work effectively.

Development trusts are:

  • community owned and led
  • cultivating enterprise
  • developing community assets
  • transforming communities for good

Development trusts are community enterprises working to create wealth in communities and keep it there. They trade on a 'not-for-personal-profit' basis, re-investing surplus back into their community and effecting social, economic and environmental, or 'triple bottom line', outcomes. [2]

Current Projects

At a regional level our work includes:

facilitating regional networking taking part in regional policy on issues that are of concern to our members supporting emerging trusts as well as established trusts lobbying and campaigning to inform politicians and other policy makers You can access you regional page on the main site:

DTA's Rural Work 
Half of our members work in a rural or a mixed urban / rural setting.
East of England 
There are a growing number of diverse development trusts within the Eastern Region.
East Midlands 
The East Midlands has a small but growing membership, which is active in a variety of communities.
There are over 60 organisations in membership in the Greater London area, this includes full, emerging and associate members. We also have some of the DTA's founding members, including Coin Street Community Builders and Westway Development Trust.
North East 
There is a strong development trust movement in the North East, with 38 full and emerging members. The North East office covers ;Northumberland, Tyne & Wear, Durham and Tees Valley : More than 50% of our members are based in rural areas or market towns.
North West 
The DTA movement in the North West is made up a vibrant and active membership who readily share their skills and experience with the rest of the movement; bringing ample opportunities for networking and peer learning through regional network meetings, conferences, seminars and exchange visits.
South East 
There are 17 full and emerging members of the Development Trusts Association throughout the region, from Oxford to Thanet.
South West 
The Development Trust movement across the South West is a growing and vibrant one; with 46 members and many more communities and partnerships looking to set up a development trust.
West Midlands 
From the sprawling urban areas of Birmingham, Coventry, Solihull, Wolverhampton and the Black Country, to heritage centres such as Stoke-on-Trent and Stratford-upon-Avon to the rural setting and it’s picturesque market towns and villages such as Ledbury and Ludlow, the West Midlands is a region rich in diversity.
Yorkshire & Humberside 
Yorkshire and the Humber has 60 Development Trusts, encompassing a fantastic diversity of communities and activities.
East of England



See for links to publications.

The Community Shares programme
One year on : This report provides a summary of the findings from the first year of the Community Shares Programme, a two-year action-research project funded by the Office of the Third Sector and the Department for Communities and Local Government working in partnership with the Development Trusts Association and Co-operativesUK
Trust in Communities 
a manifesto from the Development Trusts Association. The DTA's manifesto outlines our five key pledges for the community enterprise movement and our call on government to support the work of development trusts and other community enterprises.
A History of Community Asset Ownership 
Written by Steve Wyler, Director of the DTA, this publication provides a concise history of community asset ownership in the UK, an idea that has been in existence in the uk for hundreds of years.
Bearing Fruit 
Good practice in asset-based rural community development. Development Trusts Association with Carnegie UK Trust (Sept 2008).
Fit for Purpose 
the Development Trusts Association healthcheck for community enterprise organisations
Early Warning Guide 
Development Trusts Association (2008). Just a quick flip through this guide should help you work out whether your organisation is heading for the cliffs or enjoying the walk!
Community Share and Bond Issues 
Development Trusts Association (2007). This publication explains how community organisations can use share and bond issues as a source of funding.
The Green Asset Guide 
Development Trusts Association and the Environment Trust (2007). This guide offers a summary of approaches you can take to reduce the environmental impact of your community building.
Cultivating enterprise 
This toolkit will guide you step by step through the stages of setting up an enterprising community organisation.
To have and to hold 
This Guide provides a broad range of information, resources and contacts that you can use to develop a land or building project that is an asset for your organisation and local community.
On the borderline 
Development trusts tackling poverty in the UK
Bonds and bridges 
To what extent does the community enterprise movement engage with the diverse communities that it serves? This is something that the Development Trusts Association (DTA) explores in this new publication.
Better to borrow? 
This booklet explores examples where finance has been provided to development trusts by NatWest/RBS or by Unity Trust Bank. These banks have been pioneers of community enterprise investment and have built lasting relationships with our members.
Tell Your Story 
This guide is designed to help development trusts map their community impact and tell their stories in an effective way.


More Information

Internal Links
External Links