CLES and Preston City Council release the definitive guide to "the Preston model"

The Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES) and Preston City Council release a joint publication, telling the story of the ground-breaking "Preston model".

Entitled How we built community wealth in Preston: achievements and lessons, it is the definitive guide to the "Preston model" and tells the story in more detail than ever before.

The impact of community wealth building - the theory that underpins the work - has been significant, with dozens of localities following Preston's lead in working with CLES to develop their own approach.

The publication reflects on eight years of collaboration between CLES, Preston City Council and local anchor institutions. It outlines key achievements, offers reflections on the journey and maps out possible next steps.

Key outcomes

  • The most recent spend analysis found that the procurement from institutions rooted in Preston retained within the city was £112.3m - a rise of £74m from 2012/13.
  • Within the wider Lancashire economy (including Preston) £488.7m of spend had been retained, a rise of £200m from the baseline analysis.
  • Since the inception of the project, 4000 extra employees in Preston are now receiving the Real Living Wage (2018 initial ONS outrun).
  • The institutions thus far engaged in the process - so called "anchor institutions" - include the City Council themselves, Lancashire County Council, the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Lancashire, the Community Gateway housing association, Preston's College, Cardinal Newman College and the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).
  • Preston was named 'Most Improved City in the United Kingdom' in 'Good Growth for Cities 2018'.

Cllr Matthew Brown, the Leader of Preston City Council, said:

"What we have been able to achieve to date through the "Preston model" in and for our city has made a significant impact on the local economy. It would not have been possible to achieve what we have on this scale without our collaborative work with anchor institutions, partners and CLES.

I am proud that we are able to tell the story of how we have implemented community wealth building in Preston and to demonstrate the journey we have taken over the last eight years. I hope this publication will be a useful tool for others who are considering how community wealth building principles could be applied in their area. Our ultimate aim is to embed these principles further by building a richer and more democratic economy in Preston with further plans for a regional community bank and expanding the cooperative economy."

Neil McInroy, Chief Executive of CLES, added:

"This publication tells the definitive story of the "Preston model" of community wealth building. It celebrates successes that are the result of political leadership, vision and the work of many people.

The deep and detailed work and collaboration between Preston City Council and CLES has been at the heart of that. Although CLES has been involved in community wealth building for 12 years, the success of Preston over the last eight of those years has triggered and accelerated a powerful community wealth building movement. That movement now involves dozens of areas across the UK and has engaged national policy interest and drive. Nevertheless, there is still much to do to build economic, social and climate justice and wealth for all. In that - and as this publication shows - Preston stands as a beacon and an inspiration for the important journey ahead."

CLES has recently launched the national Community Wealth Building Centre of Excellence to develop and accelerate the adoption of community wealth building practice in the UK.

The Centre of Excellence will support practitioners, shape policy at a national and local level and build networks of community wealth builders.

CLES and Preston City Council continue to work together, with CLES offering strategic advice and impact measurement. Beyond Preston, the movement continues to grow - CLES are currently working in localities across all four countries of the UK.

For further information, visit CLES Centre of excellence.

Notes to editors

For images, interviews or further information, please contact Helen Power on +44 (0) 7853 266 598 or by email: helenpower@cles.org.uk.

Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES)

Established in 1986, CLES is the UK's leading independent think and do tank realising progressive economics for people and place.

CLES aims to achieve social justice, good local economies and effective public services for everyone, everywhere.