The Preston Model, also known as Community Wealth Building, is an approach to economic development that tackles inequality by ensuring wealth is redirected back into the local economy and shared more equally among its residents.
The Council committed itself to a co-operative initiative of local economic development in 2011 and Community Wealth Building was born with the help of the Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES) in 2013, based on the Cleveland Model and Mondragon cooperatives of the Basque Country in Spain. The co-operative model is where an enterprise is jointly owned and operated by its members for their mutual benefit.
This Community Wealth Building approach is being implemented by Preston City Council and a range of organisations, often referred to as anchor institutions, which include the University of Central Lancashire, Community Gateway Housing Association, Preston’s College, Cardinal Newman College, Lancashire Constabulary, Lancashire County Council and NHS Lancashire. A key example of this approach in action is the way these organisations encourage local businesses to tender for their contracts.
The evidence shows that Community Wealth Building activities are boosting the local economy. Recent spending analysis found the procurement from institutions in Preston retained in the city was £112m, £74m more than 2012/13.
In addition, since the start of the project, an additional 4,000 employees in Preston are now receiving the Real Living Wage. Community Wealth Building ensures that the benefits of local growth are shared across local areas and are used to support investment in productive economic activities.
Preston City Council launched its Community Wealth Building 2.0: Leading Resilience and Recovery in Preston in February 2021, which sets the direction of travel for the upcoming years.