Birmingham has the UK’s first “community wealth builder in residence”

CLES has appointed Conrad Parke as Birmingham Anchor Network Co-ordinator. The role has been dubbed “community wealth builder in residence” – a UK first – and has been created to lead and develop the community wealth building work in the city and specifically the Birmingham Anchor Institution Network.

Members of the network have each made an investment in this post and have committed to progress joint action to utilise their spending power, workforces and land and assets to build a more inclusive and equitable city economy. With combined budgets of over £5bn and a workforce of over 50,000, the members of the Network are major economic agents to play a powerful role in shaping the city economy. In addition, the Network will develop a programme of collaborative action, combining the economic weight of members to amplify their individual impact.

Conrad will lead the day to day work of the Network, with other CLES colleagues will provide technical and strategic support.

Conrad has a strong track record of working with anchor institutions in Birmingham, having previously worked on the USE-IT! project, which brought together the City Council, universities, NHS Trust and VCSE organisations to develop collaborative solutions to social and economic problems in Smethwick and West Birmingham. Prior to this, Conrad was Head of Skills Development for RegenWM and has worked extensively as a freelance community regeneration adviser.

Conrad said of what attracted him to the role:

I’ve always been a huge admirer of the leadership and expertise that CLES have provided in the ongoing movement to champion the localising of economies. This new post with CLES is a great opportunity to both apply, and to continue to develop, the experience I have gained working on regeneration projects in Birmingham and the Black Country for over 20 years.”

Neil McInroy CEO of CLES said:

“This is an exciting moment for CLES, Birmingham and the community wealth building movement: the first dedicated place-based co-ordinator in the UK and probably the world! Other places are likely to follow and we are delighted to have someone with Conrad’s experience and skills joining us to forge the path.”

Commenting on the appointment, Jonathan Tew, Assistant, Chief Executive of Birmingham City Council, said:

“We’ve been working with CLES for two years to develop an Anchor Institution Network for Birmingham and we’ve become firm believers in the role it can play in addressing economic inequality across the city. This is why we are pleased to see someone like Conrad appointed to the role of Network Co-ordinator, as he combines both a passion for Birmingham with the necessary experience to make the network a success.”