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Long-term investments in community enterprises were given a substantial boost today when the home secretary, Charle...
Long-term investments in community enterprises were given a substantial boost today when the home secretary, Charles Clarke, announced a further£5m investment in the Adventure Capital Fund.

Launched in December 2002, the programme provides a tailored investment package to develop and grow local enterprise in deprived areas. Many activities are already being delivered by innovative organisations ranging from managed workspace and neighbourhood service delivery such as childcare to recycling schemes. These enterprises operate on a business model, but re-invest any generated surpluses back into the community.

Mr Clarke said:

'Encouraging and supporting community-driven effort and enterprise is essential to help build strong, cohesive communities and tackle social exclusion. The Adventure Capital Fund provides money and other support to help develop local enterprise in some of our most deprived communities. Since 2002, the government has committed£7m to the fund and we will now invest an additional£5m in the fund. The fund itself has already helped draw in£20m of investment into communities from the public and private sectors.'


1. The Adventure Capital Fund is a partnership between the government and key organisations in the voluntary and community sector. It provides a new approach to investing in community initiatives - shifting organisations away from short-term grant dependency to longer term financial stability. The fund provides 'patient capital' - investment which recognises the long-term nature of community development and the importance of linking funding with support for organisational development.

2. The Home Office has committed funds of£7m for the Adventure Capital Fund over the period 2002-2005. The first£2.5m round was launched in December 2002. A further£4.5m followed in Round 2 and was announced by the home secretary in June 2003.

3. The investments, which range from£15,000 to£400,000, support asset purchase and development to stimulate enterprise. The latest round will be open to application for community enterprises from May this year.

4. The Adventure Capital Fund is also supported by ODPM, DTI and four RDAs. The management consortium comprises four national organisations: Development Trusts Association; Sharman Trust; Local Investment Fund and the New Economics Foundation.

5. The Adventure Capital Fund investment method was used to develop the£125m Futurebuilders programme, which focuses on helping the wider voluntary and community sector to develop public services. Futurebuilders will make its first investments in the next few months.

Case Study

ABL, Manningham, Bradford - a sustainable community

ABL is a community enterprise in Manningham, Bradford. Established in 1992 in the Carlisle Business Centre ABL is home to 52 small businesses and community organisations including BME media companies, Bradford

Action for People with Disabilities and Refugee Action.

An Adventure Capital Fund investment of£300,000 attracted further private and public sector investment which enabled ABL to purchase the building from Bradford City Council.

Each month, 5,000 people use the Centre which has an annual turnover of£600,000 and supports 374 jobs.

In addition to the financial surpluses the organisation has become the focus for economic and social recovery in the area.

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