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About DTNI

Who we are

The Organisation

Development Trusts NI is a member-led organisation with a board of directors drawn from its membership and a small staff team. We are committed to remaining small at the centre, preferring to utilise the strengths and skills of our members to help deliver the development work of the organisation.

Key Partners

We have a close working relationship with our sister organisations Locality, DTA Scotland and DTA Wales – a UK wide network with over 450 members. All full members of DTNI automatically receive membership of the UK-wide association. We also work closely with a number of other community networks.

What we do

DTNI was established in 2010 to bring together the interests of a number of community-based organisations who were seeking to promote their model of community development and social enterprise, to cement and build upon progress they had made, to articulate a common voice for the values and work they were doing and to bring others on board. There was a defined need for a functioning resource in Northern Ireland replicating the development trust networks established across Scotland, England and Wales.

Our work continues to evolve as we strive to inform new policy thinking and programme interventions and establish new strategic partnerships. We seek to work in partnership across local and central government at all levels and strategically with the NI Local Government Association (NILGA) to develop our mutual interests associated with Community Asset Transfer, community planning, community rights and local economic development.


To empower collective local intervention in the social economy space that creates more sustainable communities.

We will deliver against our mission by:

  • Enabling community anchors to be present in more communities.
  • Working to support legislation that cements community rights and asset transfer
  • Having members that are living and working the values of DTNI.
  • Achieving higher visibility and acknowledgment for our work.
  • Having an asset of our own that articulates our values.


We work for social justice through enterprise. Development trusts all over Northern Ireland are already enabling communities to make their aspirations a reality. We are committed to being a practitioner-based organisation rooted in the communities where we are present.

We believe that assets and enterprise offer flexibility and stability and generate respect.



Our vision for Northern Ireland is community empowerment through asset ownership, helping communities take control of their futures. We are committed to the generation of enterprise that allows community organisations to become sustainable.

We at DTNI envision a future where community assets are owned by and provide benefit to the community, eventually reducing demands on the public purse and developing a real and sustainable partnership with a range of service providers.

The expertise developed across the DTA networks in Scotland, England and Wales provides guidance for potential development trusts and support for existing trusts.


Core Development Priorities

Our core work programme focuses on:

  • Community Asset Transfer;
  • community rights;
  • local economy;
  • participative democracy;
  • the delivery of public services.


We pursue a wider development agenda in support of the interests of our members.

DTNI trades commercially and pursues funding and investment with government and independent trusts and foundations with a direct interest in our core work.

Thanks for your support – now let’s start building community wealth!