brown and white concrete house
Photo by Giorgio Trovato on Unsplash

Preston’s Labour and Co-operative Council are working hard delivering our transformative Community Wealth Building agenda, now a decade old, and commonly known as ‘The Preston Model.’ However, whilst implementing new layers of economic democracy remain constant how we deliver it today is quite different to when we began.

Addressing the climate crisis is integral to Labour’s thinking nationally but also locally in Preston and across our movement. Moving toward net zero supply chains has become central to our progressive procurement objectives but so has the promotion of democratic ownership to support a just transition.

Preston’s ambitions for plural ownership of our local economy has delivered ten new worker co-operatives alongside co-operative housing, insourcing, a community land trust, an incubated regional co-operative bank, and £80m of municipally-owned city regeneration accompanied by several other policies to benefit our communities.

The ‘Brookfield Retrofit Cooperative’ is now part of our exciting plans to build a greener local economy. This new worker owned business located at the Soundskills Community Centre on one of Preston’s social housing estates will deliver a retrofit service initially through a demonstrator at the centre. It will provide on the job training to three members of the co-op and aims to upskill local people to become retrofitters and retrofit assessors.

The long-term aim is for the business to provide a service to Preston households and explore with anchor institutions how to deliver public contracts, so the numbers employed grow, as well as delivering energy efficiency savings for residents, institutions, and businesses.

A further project with Community Energy Preston will use a cooperative vehicle to purchase and install solar panels on anchor institutions, local businesses and community buildings showing how serious we are about delivering systemic change to challenge fossil fuel capitalism.

Across the country Labour and Co-operative local and regional politicians are also delivering the public, co-operative and community ownership of energy in Wales, Greater Manchester, Liverpool City Region, Hackney, Plymouth and beyond.

Delivering a sustainable future for all must be in the hands of people and places. These trends show Community Wealth Building has become both radical and green and is delivering climate justice in many communities already.