North Ayrshire Council launched Scotland’s first Community Wealth Building 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 new strategy sets out the CWB 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 includes a comprehensive 55-point action plan and 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 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.
A Community Wealth Building Commission of local and regional anchor institutions was formed in September 2019 to implement the CWB approach and establish North Ayrshire as a Community Wealth Building Council. To guide the Council’s work, an Expert Advisory Panel (chaired by the Wellbeing Economy Alliance Scotland) was created and includes renowned experts on Community Wealth Building, wellbeing economy, fair work and climate change.
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.
As part of the wider Community Wealth Building strategy, the Council launched a ‘Keep it Local’ campaign in July 2020. The need for local people, businesses and anchor institutions to spend locally, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic, is an essential pillar of the strategy and the Council are supporting that need by urging people and businesses to ‘Keep it Local’.
On 5 October 2020 as part of Challenge Poverty Week, the Council launched Scotland’s first Community Wealth Building Anchor Charter. The Charter was signed by six major regional anchor institutions – North Ayrshire Council, East Ayrshire Council, South Ayrshire Council, NHS Ayrshire and Arran, Ayrshire College and Scottish Enterprise. By signing the Charter, organisations have committed to a series of CWB and Climate Action pledges which will support an inclusive regional economy.