Anchor institutions are a core part of some community wealth building models. We’ve previously blogged about how, by considering their use of their significant purchasing power, these organisations can have wide ripples in their local communities. CLES is currently working with 6 anchor institutions in Birmingham:

  • BMet
  • Police and Crime Commissioner
  • Univeristy of Birmingham
  • Pioneer Housing Group
  • Birmingham City Council
  • Queen Elizabeth Hospital

But if you were looking for a 7th, who would you choose? We wondered if Birmingham’s sporting organisations could compete to be next on the list…

Aston Villa have a foundation which supports their local community and is all very nice, but we think that the impact of becoming a living wage employer and developing a procurement policy that goes beyond their legal requirements not to employ trafficked humans (not to minimise the importance of that) would be a better way of having community impact in their business as usual.

Likewise Edgbaston Cricket Ground also have a foundation giving thing back to their local communities but have nothing to say on how they commit to improving their local communities through fair procurement and employment opportunities. For example, working to ensure individuals who don’t want to be stuck on zero hours contracts aren’t, could mean someone currently excluded can get back into the workforce.

How about the Wasps? We find a third foundation which deliberately carves out corporate social responsibility from the rest of day to day business. We want employers to see that they can go beyond putting on activities for their local communites. Those things are great, and we aren’t knocking them, but to add value that ripples out much further, you could commit to taking on a local apprentice and giving them skills and experience that will line them up for jobs for life, for example. Embedding these kinds of practices into a fundamental business structure, rather than ‘community benefit’ can bring benefits on both sides. At the Living Wage Places discussion in Birmingham, employers told us that raising their staff onto Living Wage had reduced their overall staffing costs and won them business.

Finally, one can hardly mention sport in Birmingham without asking what the commonwealth games is up to. Birmingham2022 is currently building some social values for the games but given it launches in 1100 days and building work is currently underway, it isn’t possible that these values are embedded from the beginning. We would like to see the partners being chosen to deliver, being chosen on the basis of their wider social impact; this would ensure that the legacy of the games lives on beyond 2022.

So what do you think? Have we missed an example of exemplary work going on in the sports world Birmingham? Are you interested in helping explain the benefits of community wealth building to one of these organisations and seeing sport leading the way in creating resilient and empowered communities ? Get in touch.

Photo by Jannes Glas on Unsplash