House building schemes delivering on Community Wealth Building ambitions for Wigan Council
Wigan Council’s focus on delivering affordable homes is creating wide-ranging community benefits through its social value principles.
From providing apprenticeships and work placements to securing charitable donations and boosting local investment, it’s all in line with the local authority’s Community Wealth Building (CWB) framework.
Launched in 2021, CWB is Wigan Council’s bold approach to creating a fairer economy.
Councillor Nazia Rehman, cabinet portfolio holder for finance, resources and transformation, said: “We are firmly committed to community wealth building in our borough; taking the opportunity whenever we can to recruit from our communities, procure from good local businesses, and placing control of our local economy in the hands of local people, businesses and communities.
“In addition, as part of working with the council our development partners commit to creating added social value through their work. I’d like to say thank you to them for engaging with us on this.”
Approximately 30 apprenticeships have already been created or are set to be created on Wigan Council housing building schemes.
In addition, 36 people will benefit from upskilling programmes including Kickstart on one scheme, alongside 16 work experience placements.
The council and Keepmoat have been working in partnership with Elysium Training to offer local young people who are currently not in school, work or training the chance to complete a qualification in health and safety in construction.
This has already seen 11 young people complete the training course and gain those skills and qualifications to build a successful career in construction. They are now waiting to take their CSCS (Health, Safety and Environment) Test.
Madi, one of these local young people, said: “Before, I was struggling to find a job that was right for me, but the CSCS programme has really opened my eyes into the various roles within construction industry and has given me a kickstart into a scaffolding career.”
In the process of building houses, the council and its contractors work to engage with and use local suppliers, to ensure the most benefit locally for every pound invested.
One example is at the new Meadowvale estate in Pemberton where 23 family homes and specialist accommodation have been built with Wilmott Dixon spending £3.55million in the local supply chain, and 51 per cent of the labour on site came from within 10 miles.
Schools have also benefitted, with visits, talks, careers fair attendance, and the ‘Raising Aspiration’ programme.
Donations have also been made to local charities including homeless charities like The Brick and Helping Support in Need, fuel poverty projects through AWARM, and sponsorship of local events.
Wider community projects have been supported too, with a donation to Xplorers Specialist Computing for laptops for a holiday tech camp for young people and the creation of the Community Remembrance Garden at Robin Park Stadium.
Councillor Susan Gambles, cabinet portfolio holder for housing and welfare, added: “Through our housing development work, we are making substantial investment into new, much-needed homes in our borough, delivering specialist and affordable homes for local people.
“I am really proud that at the same time we have been able to ensure that a wide range of added ‘social value’ benefits have made their way to our local communities.
“Working with our contractors, we’ve been able to achieve some great things in our borough. I’m really excited to see what can continue to do and deliver going into 2023 and beyond.”
Posted on Thursday 23rd March 2023