Can Do Investment Funds – Local People Power!

May 30, 2010

A Can Do Investment Fund (CDIF) is a community-held pot of money that is used to buy services and activities which the community decides will enhance where and how they live. Can Do Communities can set up and help facilitate this small grants scheme for you.

The CDIF ‘model’ begins with a small grant pot, usually a few thousand pounds over 6 months to a year, that resources small-scale, voluntarily-run projects. Decisions about which ideas and activities to fund are taken by a panel comprising people from the community itself. This can be residents, committed local development workers, councillors, workers at local businesses, service users – anyone with a stake and an interest in bringing about positive change.

The activities and projects which are funded are measured over their lifetime, using simple criteria and measurement methods agreed with each project when it receives funding. For instance, a group of local residents may decide they want to set up a stop-smoking support group for 3 months. They use their funding to pay for the hire of a local venue, motivational speakers, alternative health therapies etc. They decide to measure the success of their project on the number of cigarettes each member cuts back on over the life of the project and this is achieved by a very simple sheet of paper that each fills in to show the number of cigarettes smoked daily.

At the end of each activity, the agreed measurements are analysed and a rough cost-benefit analysis calculated. These are then collated on a regular basis (quarterly or 6-monthly) and used in negotiations with local service providers to negotiate a re-investment into the CDIF, based on the financial savings to the provider.

The CDIF should grow over time, as statutory agencies become more accustomed and supportive of the idea, and the confidence and capabilities of local service provision grows. If the legal requirements are in place, and with a bit of creativity, the CDIF could also tender for work commissioned by statutory agencies, always using the model of delivering services through small to medium scale local initiatives. This is an alternative to the reinvestment negotiation and possibly negates the need to put a financial value on work already carried out, although this is always a valuable piece of information to provide.

The Benefits

  • Provide services on a local level- crucially by local people
  • Helps fund good ideas- breeds confidence
  • Supports community engagement/ sense of community
  • Provides support to people at grass roots level
  • Easy access to scheme (easy to complete application form)
  • Quick Process/ a face to the process
  • Local Panel – making decisions on peers
  • Encourages re-investment
  • Improves local peoples skills
  • Encourages people to look at local skills available- instead of negativity


Please contact the Can Do Communities office on 01733 200906 to find out more.


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