Development Trusts

Development trusts are a particular type of partnership organisation. They offer benefits to the local community as well as to many public bodies, non-profit agencies and funders.


A trust would expect revenue to fund its operations and activities, both from grant income and trading income. Core funding (for staff and running costs), particularly in its first few years, might come from a variety of public sector sources. There might be private sector sponsorship, including help in kind such as secondments. Charitable funding could be sought for specific projects.

The activities undertaken by development trusts are various and include:

  • promoting tourism and encouraging inward investment,
  • carrying out local improvement schemes and restoring buildings,
  • developing and running sports and recreation facilities,
  • managing community centres and providing community offices,
  • promoting local heritage,
  • running play schemes and child care centres, and
  • supporting community development.


While there is no one model for development trusts, they are all concerned with the regeneration of an area. They are not run for private gain but aim for long term sustainability. Development trusts are community-based and accountable.

Background research and further advice

Development Trust Association

Links to Case Studies

You can find case studies about existing development trusts in operation on Development Trust Association Sharing Skills & Experience.