Council becomes first Scottish local authority to join Wellbeing Economy Alliance
Posted on 14 Aug 2020
A GLOBAL organisation dedicated to developing ‘wellbeing’ economies with a focus on social justice and environmental change has welcomed North Ayrshire Council into its fold.
The Wellbeing Economy Alliance (WEAll) says ‘pioneering’ North Ayrshire Council is inspiring others after it became the first local authority in Scotland to join the worldwide movement.
Over the last few months, the Council has ramped up its efforts by moving forward with bold, radical and ambitious economic plans.
The catalyst was the launch of their new Community Wealth Building Strategy as the Council became the first in Scotland to adopt this innovative approach to economic development.
They announced their strategy and plans to build back better in May and are working with a team of international external experts to help drive forward proposals.
And in a written submission to the Scottish Parliament’s Economy, Energy and Fair Work Committee, the Council highlighted the need for specific support and action for fragile regions – like North Ayrshire and Ayrshire. The submission also called for a move away from a focus on narrow economic indicators like GDP to a greater focus on economic, social and environmental wellbeing.
The Community Wealth Building approach is key for North Ayrshire in its bid to create a real wellbeing economy - an economic system purpose-built to deliver social justice on a healthy planet where humanity dictates economics, not the other way around. WEAll is a collaboration of organisations, alliances, movements and individuals working towards this goal.
Their Scottish hub – Wellbeing Economy Alliance (Scotland) - was established in 2018 and brings together like-minded economic thinkers to coordinate strategic direction to help lead the way towards fundamental system change.
Councillor Joe Cullinane, Leader of North Ayrshire Council and Cabinet Member for Community Wealth Building, said: “We are delighted to be teaming up with WEAll and look forward to speaking to a range of influential thinkers who can help inspire us as we look to radically overhaul what we are doing here in North Ayrshire.
“We are in the midst of a global recession and now is the time to be bold, think differently and build a new economy.
“That new economy must work for the benefit of people and planet, ending decades of an extractive economic model that has worked for neither and has saw inequality soar to record levels.
“That’s what we want to achieve through our Community Wealth Building strategy which, post Covid, will help us build back better, fairer and greener.
“We want to change how we do things in North Ayrshire and when people see how effective that change is we want others to follow suit. We want to work in partnership with communities, businesses and trade unions to build a strong local economy which supports fair work, encourages local spend and uses the land and property we own for the common good so that wealth stays local.
“WEAll are leading the case for an economy that values the wellbeing of people and planet and I am excited by the opportunity to work with them to realise our joint ambitions for a fairer future.”
Sarah Deas, chair of North Ayrshire's expert advisory group on Community Wealth Building and a trustee of Wellbeing Economy Alliance (Scotland) said:“North Ayrshire Council was the first Scottish local authority to commit to Community Wealth Building and is now the first to join the Wellbeing Economy Alliance (WEAll). The Council appreciates that direct local action can achieve systems change, enabling the economy to deliver human and ecological wellbeing.
"Through participating in the WEAll network, the Council will inspire others to adopt similar pioneering approaches while benefiting from ideas and innovations from across the world."
WEAll has members from every continent. A full list can be found on its website.