One Year On - Community Wealth Building

One Year On - Community Wealth Building

By Councillor Keith Cunliffe, Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Adult Social Care and Health.

It has been 12 months since we launched our vision for a fairer local economy.

One year on, we are reflecting on what we have achieved and how we have put community wealth building at the centre of our recovery from COVID-19.

Many people have talked about going back to normal, but in Wigan this meant a low-wage economy with a third of jobs paying below the real living wage. COVID-19 has only worsened those inequalities. Going back to what was our ‘normal’ isn’t an option.

We launched our community wealth building vision to make a real difference to the people who live and work in the borough.

Over the last 12 months, we have placed this vision at the heart of how we operate as a council, building on the foundations of The Deal.

We have focused on maximising community wealth building benefits in sectors such as social care, housing, and the green economy.

Knowing we are stronger together; we have joined with our family of local anchor institutions to use our significant economic power to turn our vision into a reality.

Together, we’re working hard to ensure our residents have clear pathways to meaningful careers and exciting futures.

Our partnership with Wigan & Leigh College, Edge Hill University and Wrightington, Wigan & Leigh Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (WWL) is improving opportunities for local people to develop their skills and enhance their ability to gain employment. The newly opened Rushton Building in the town’s education quarter stands as a fantastic symbol of community wealth building in action, providing the facilities for a wider choice of higher education courses.

We’ve also worked with the Department for Work and Pensions to support the recruitment of residents most impacted by Covid-19 into vital positions in the health and social care sector.

Covid-19 has also brought into focus the need to keep the ‘Wigan pound’ in the borough and give our businesses and local economy support like never before. We’re taking steps to support local businesses to ensure they are able to access public sector procurement opportunities.

So far, 32 local businesses have joined us on our free procurement training which provides support and guidance on the complex procurement process. In January, a further 45 businesses will take part in the training.

We’ve also published a list of our upcoming tenders to provide the local business community with more time to prepare to submit a bid.

Many of you also demonstrated your commitment to supporting the local economy by changing your behaviours and shopping habits.

Despite the unprecedented challenges we’ve faced, through everyone working together we’ve achieved great things. But there is still lots to do as we begin our road to recovery.

In 2022, I am looking forward to continuing to work with our partners and business community to:

  • Ensure every resident can access good local employment and skills opportunities
  • Increase local spend and support local businesses to work with the public sector
  • Deliver benefits for our residents such as good quality housing and a greener borough
  • And listen to the views and ideas of our young people so that together, we create a future where they have maximum opportunity to reach their aspirations.

We also hope to welcome more businesses into our conversation about what community wealth building means to the borough’s economy. If you would like to get involved in our Business Consortium, please contact communitywealthbuilding@wigan.gov.uk

By working together, we are confident we will recover better and build back an economy that is fairer and works for the people of our borough now, and for future generations.

Posted on Tuesday 14th December 2021

© Wigan Council