Development trusts are enterprises created by communities to enable sustainable development in their area. They are engaged in the economic, environmental and social regeneration of a local area or a community with a shared interest.
The Development Trust Association says that a development trust:
- aims for financial viable independent, sustainability and not-for-private-profit;
- generates an income through enterprise and delivery of services and trading;
- is community based, owned and managed;
- is actively involved in partnerships and alliances between the community, voluntary, private and public sectors;
- promotes sustainable development and building sustainable communities.
There is no one-size-fits-all development trust. They come in many different shapes and sizes and are involved in a wide range of activities, services and facilities to the communities they serve. These may include running a local shop, managing a housing development, developing renewable energy projects such as wind farms, setting up training programmes.
There is no set form of legal structure, and a development trust may be registered as a company limited by guarantee, a community interest company or an industrial and provident society. Many register as charities.