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Community Wealth Building

Town Hall and Harris close up

Community Wealth Building is about creating a resilient and inclusive economy for the benefit of the local area and its people.

Community Wealth Building is an approach to economic development which aims to build a resilient and inclusive economy for the benefit of the local community.

Role of anchor institutions

An anchor institution is a place-based organisation that is invested in its local area and cannot relocate to another part of the country. Examples include:

  • local councils
  • universities
  • colleges
  • local housing associations
  • local emergency services etc.

By their nature, these organisations also spend substantial amounts of money that is retained within the local area. While most of their employees are likely to live within the local area, and spend their wages there, they also have significant procurement and investment spend which can also be spent locally.

Four basic principles of CWB

The UK approach to CWB focuses on the following principals, which aims to ensure the economic system builds wealth and prosperity for everyone.

1. Wealth that's there

Harnessing the power of the money that anchor institutions are spending on procuring goods and services. Aiming to localise as much of that spend as possible, securing investment in local supply chains and improving local economic competitiveness.

2. Workforce 

Maximising the benefits of investment in staff by building a skilled and committed workforce and providing an exemplar to local businesses. Paying at least the Living Wage to all employees and encouraging staff to spend local and save local, including through Credit Unions.

For more information about a real wage for Preston visit Preston City Council - Preston Real Living Wage.

3. Land, Property and Investments

Using anchor institution assets to lever in additional investment, to encourage the development of new businesses and support new methods of financial intermediation. To consider asset transfer to community or private sector interests where this best serves the interests of the wider community.

4. Economic democracy 

Supporting the growth of alternative models of economic governance which give citizens greater investment in and control over their economic future. This can mean the development of new co-operatives as well as other ways of helping people feel ownership of assets and decision-making processes.

For more information about co-operatives visit Preston City Council - Co-operatives.

How Preston is implementing the principals of CWB?

Preston has been at the forefront of implementing the principles of CWB in the UK.

The 'Preston Model' is another term used to describe CWB. This term is often used in the press when talking about how the council, its anchor institutions and other partners are implementing the principles of CWB within Preston and the wider Lancashire area.

Preston City Council have collaborated with their colleagues at the Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES) since 2013. In May 2019, the council and CLES produced, CLES - How we built community wealth in Preston, which provides an overview of progress and achievements. 

A key aspect of the council's work with CLES has been the analysis of the spend of anchor institutions.

Together they have published the following two publications, which track and review this work:

For more details on how CWB is being implemented within the city visit Preston City Council - Preston Model.

Preston's anchor institutions supporting CWB

As 'place leader' for the city, the council is committed to promoting the concept to other anchor institutions in and around Preston and to the private sector.

The implementation is something which is being shared across a range of Preston based anchor institutions, including:

Community Wealth Building 2.0: Leading Resilience and Recovery in Preston Strategy

Preston City Council launched its Community Wealth Building 2.0: Leading Resilience and Recovery in Preston in February 2021, which sets the direction of travel for the upcoming years.

View the  Community Wealth Building 2.0: Leading Resilience and Recovery in Preston Strategy (PDF) [2MB] .

How to get involved 

If you are interested about getting involved or would like to find out more, please contact Invest@preston.gov.uk

What is Community Wealth Building video