Community Wealth Building in Leeds


CLES worked with Leeds City Council to support a growing network of local anchor institutions to harness their collective spending power to benefit the local economy.  


  • Leeds is the third largest city in the UK and has seen considerable economic growth in its city centre over recent years, with significant growth in the financial services sector.
  • Whilst the city region has an economy of £74bn (ONS, 2018) and a workforce of 1.4 million people, , poverty and disadvantage persist: Leeds has 114 neighbourhoods (LSOAs) in the most deprived 10% of neighbourhoods in the UK, with almost a quarter of the population living in poverty.
  • Leeds City Council is committed to tackling growing inequality in the city and has made the securing of inclusive growth a key strategic priority.
  • Community wealth building is a key pillar of their inclusive growth approach which is being taken forward through the development of a network of anchor institutions committed to using their spending power to build a more equitable local economy.

Community Wealth Building in Leeds 

Anchor institution collaboration to build a more inclusive local economy  

CLES have worked with Nicky Denison, Wordfern, Les Newby Associates and Leeds City Council and its participating anchor institutions to develop an anchor institution network. The network is made up of 11 of the city’s largest public sector organisations. Read an overview of Leeds Anchors here.

Using spending on goods and services to generate local social and economic benefit  

With combined procurement budgets of £2bn, the network is a significant economic agent in the Leeds economy. Having worked with CLES to analyse current spending, the network has now agreed objectives to shift spending towards suppliers who generate greater economic and social benefit for local people. Members are now working together to adapt their procurement practice and identify sectors where they can collaborate to create more economically generative local markets.  

Targeting recruitment to enable a just labour market

Ten of the anchor institutions are Real Living Wage employers, share best practice on non-pay benefits and work collaboratively to address issues associated with the gender and ethnicity pay gap reporting and action.

Employee mapping for each anchor by gender, age and pay band against the Index of Multiple Deprivation 2019 has improved understanding of the opportunity to contribute to inclusion and improve social mobility through recruitment. This has informed pilot outreach employment support programmes in priority neighbourhoods to recruit to vacancies at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and the Council. The pilot has now been mainstreamed and available to support all anchors.

The anchor institutions are now signed up to the Leeds Anchors Healthy Workplace Pledge and its implementation will be supported by a toolkit with impact monitored through workforce data and staff survey results.

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