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I have been overwhelmed by the number of people who have taken time to write to me and the team at CDF, following the news of our impending closure in March 2016. The flurry of emails from across the UK have come from community groups whose activities we have helped support, organisations we have worked with, former and community development practitioners with whom we have rubbed shoulders over nearly 50 years. The spectrum of responses ranged from surprise to sadness to gratitude with many flagging that this has been a brave move by CDF trustees – one that bucks the charity sector trend, by placing the charity’s objects and assets above organisational longevity and self-interest.

And of course the experience of reading your messages is tinged with both warmth and sadness. I have spent a fantastic ten years at CDF and I want to extend my gratitude to all of those who have made it so.

The passion we continue to share at CDF is the need to advocate for those working at the grassroots – the local activists, community groups and volunteers and those who support them from all sectors – and how they rise to local challenges and create opportunities for their communities, regardless of the odds. Empowering people to influence and act upon the decisions that affect their lives has been central to our work.

I have, of course, received very many thoughtful letters suggesting how CDF’s funds could be allocated. The overriding commitment, however, is to make sure that the recipient of CDF’s resources is able to keep the flame alight. And so to make sure that the products and services we have invested in aren’t vulnerable to the winds of change, we will accompany them with financial support. It isn’t therefore, the intention to split CDF’s resources over multiple projects and proposals. Whilst I recognise that this will be a disappointment to some, I hope that people will take comfort that the overall aim is to provide benefit to many, rather than a few, in the best way we can.

We will keep everyone updated via our website and Just Act, the website we have created to help people active in their communities and which will continue to do so. Once again thank you for your support and kind words.