Community Wealth Building in North Ayrshire

(2019 – ongoing) 

North Ayrshire is Scotland’s first community wealth building council.

The Council worked with CLES to develop a diagnostic which put forward recommendations on how it could become a community wealth building council – these now form the basis of the Council’s community wealth building strategy.


  • North Ayrshire, in the Ayrshire region of south west Scotland, has a population of 135,280.
  • Despite some locational and sectoral strengths, the area faces a number of socio-economic challenges with nearly a third of children in poverty, an unemployment rate consistently above the national average and a forecast decline in population.
  • North Ayrshire Council recognises that all places are going through a period of vast social, economic, environmental and technological change, and that the importance of creating resilient places is rising.

Community wealth building in North Ayrshire

The first community wealth building council in Scotland

North Ayrshire is the first council in Scotland to embark on a mission to become a community wealth building council. The Council is currently drafting Scotland’s first community wealth building strategy which will be launched in the Spring of 2020.

A commission to drive progress across anchor institutions

The Council has formed a community wealth building commission to drive forward progress on community wealth building. The Commission includes representation from senior elected members, Council services, the Health and Social Care Integration Joint Board and Community Planning Partners (CPP) including major anchor institutions. The purpose of the Commission is to:

  • Progress and promote the development of a strategic approach to community wealth building;
  • Explore the barriers to community wealth building;
  • Encourage the involvement of anchor institutions and promote best practice amongst stakeholders.

Simplified procurement building knowledge of the local market

As part of the early stage work ahead of publishing it’s community wealth building strategy, the Council has implemented a new ‘Quick Quote’ procurement process which has increased opportunities for local business, supported the procurement service to build knowledge of local suppliers and identified opportunities for capacity building with North Ayrshire businesses.

A growth deal community wealth building fund

The £251m Ayrshire Growth Deal includes a £3m fund which will establish the region as a pioneer in community wealth building. The project will develop an Ayrshire approach to community wealth building that enhances wealth, ensures fair and meaningful work, and creates successful places throughout the region. All Ayrshire Growth Deal work will be taken forward through a community wealth building lens to maximise the impact of the Deal.

Council Leader, Joe Cullinane:

“We want nothing more than a North Ayrshire that is free from inequalities and deprivation.”

It’s clear here in North Ayrshire that we suffer from regional inequalities in Scotland and the UK, that’s why we have taken an innovative approach to local economic development to make North Ayrshire a region that is fair for all.

We want nothing more than a North Ayrshire that is free from inequalities and deprivation.

Community wealth building can be the foundation for us to build a new economic model for North Ayrshire – one which keeps money circulating in North Ayrshire and creates good, well paid jobs for local residents.

This approach has been proven to work in other places and there is no reason why we can’t lead the way on being the first in Scotland to implement a successful community wealth building approach.

Julie McLachlan, Senior Manager – Economic Policy:

“We need a new approach to our economy, centred on wellbeing and inclusion.”

Community wealth building is at the heart of our new Council Plan. It is a radical and bold approach which will see the Council – along with our local and regional anchor institutions – use our economic levers to create a more resilient local economy.

The answer is no longer traditional economic growth, we need a new approach to our economy, centred on wellbeing and inclusion.

We’re at the forefront of this approach in Scotland and have benefited greatly from learning from other places such as Preston and working closely with our partners at CLES and the Democracy Collaborative.

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