North Ayrshire Council launched Scotland’s first Community Wealth Building (CWB) strategy in May 2020. It sets out how the council will work in partnership with local communities, businesses and wider regional anchor institutions to create a fairer local economy to tackle poverty and inequality, embedding a new economic model focused on wellbeing and inclusion.
The CWB Strategy outlines the mission of ‘Enhancing local wealth and the creation of fair jobs, and maximising the potential of all our places through working in partnership with our communities and businesses’. The strategy sets out six objectives to deliver CWB:
Community Wealth Building Council: We will work across all our services and wider local and regional partners to implement Scotland’s first approach to Community Wealth Building.
Procurement: We will use our spend to actively encourage and support a growing, diverse and resilient local business base, and to support our net zero carbon ambitions.
Fair Employment: We will encourage the creation of fair and meaningful jobs with progression opportunities to unlock the potential of our residents.
Land and Assets: We will support the wider regeneration of our communities by maximising all of our land and assets including through alternative uses for community and business benefit.
Financial Power: We will invest locally and encourage regional and national institutions to invest in our communities.
Plural Ownership of the Economy: We will support the creation and sustainability of a range of business models including SMEs, social enterprise, employee ownership, cooperatives, municipal activity and community enterprises.
Overall, the CWB Strategy aims to encourage:
Spending public money locally;
Keeping wealth generated within local area;
Community ownership; and
The use of property in a socially just way.
To guide the Council’s work, an Expert Advisory Panel has been established. The panel is chaired by WEAll Scotland and includes renowned experts on Community Wealth Building, a Wellbeing Economy, fair work, and climate change. A Community Wealth Building Commission of local and regional anchor institutions was established in September 2019 to implement the CWB approach and establish the North Ayrshire council as a Community Wealth Building Council.
In September 2020, the Council launched its Economic Recovery and Renewal Approach to build back better, fairer, and greener. The approach is based on the foundation of the Council’s Community Wealth Building approach and sets out a Local Green New Deal.
The twin priorities of a North Ayrshire Green New Deal to build back better, fairer and greener are to:
Ensure an inclusive economic recovery by delivering our Community Wealth Building mission; and
Ensure a green economic recovery focused on achieving our net zero carbon ambitions through the creation of sustainable infrastructure and regeneration projects and creating fair jobs.
At the heart of this is the £8.8m Investment Fund which will support an inclusive and green economic recovery by:
Maximising renewable energy generation;
Investing in the commercial estate including improving the sustainability of assets;
Trackling vacant and derelict land and building in town centres by investing in town centre living;
Supporting community economic developing through community regeneration, ownership and capacity building;
A carbon absorption tree planting programme; and
The creation of a Green Jobs Fund.
The Council has launched a ‘Keep it Local’ campaign as part of the wider Community Wealth Building approach. The need for local people, businesses and Anchor Institutions to spend locally is an essential pillar of that strategy and the Council are supporting that need by urging people and businesses to ‘Keep it Local’.
In October 2020, as part of Challenge Poverty Week, the Council launched Scotland’s first Anchor Charter. The Charter was signed by six major regional Anchor Institutions and outlined a commitment to a series of CWB and Climate Action pledges to support an inclusive regional economy.
In terms of lessons learned in developing a bold Community Wealth Building approach, the North Ayrshire Council recommends:
Setting a vision with buy in
Anchoring in education and collaboration
Working across silos
Be ambitious and bold, but practical
Building awareness, knowledge and showing ‘quick wins’
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