Community wealth building is an approach which supports the development and delivery of a ‘wellbeing economy’. Wellbeing economy approaches move away from the prevailing models of economic development focused primarily on growth and look at the success of economies more broadly. This includes whether economies are thriving, how happy people are, how well people participate and how well the environment is maintained.

Community wealth building seeks to increase flows of investment within local economies by harnessing the wealth that exists locally, as opposed to attracting national or international capital. As large employers, the approach that anchor institutions take to employment can have a defining impact on the prospects and incomes of local people.

Recruitment from lower income areas, commitment to paying the living wage, and building progression routes for workers are all examples of actions that anchor institutions can take to stimulate the local economy and bring social improvements to local communities.

Anchor institutions are often major local asset holders. These assets represent a base from which local wealth can be accrued. In community wealth building the function and ownership of these assets is deepened to ensure that any financial gain is harnessed by citizens.

Furthermore, there is a desire to develop and extend community use of those assets. It should be remembered that much public sector land and facilities are a part of the commons and should be used to develop greater citizen ownership.

Further support and contacts

The Economic Outcomes Report summarises key points that have emerged from the 32 local economic footprint reports, which were produced for each council, focussing on the three pillars of employment, procurement and asset management. North Ayrshire Council factored its Economic Footprint Report into its planning for community wealth building.

If you would like to find out more about community wealth building you can access further resources on the Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES) website.

For information about wellbeing economy approaches, visit the Wellbeing Economy Alliance and Wellbeing Economy Governments.

You can contact SLAED via

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