What are Anchor Institutions?

About Anchor Institutions Oldham Anchors

The term ‘anchor institutions’ is used to refer is used to refer to organisations which have an important presence in a place, usually through a combination of being large-scale employers, one of the largest purchasers of goods and services in the locality, controlling large areas of land and having relatively fixed assets.  Examples include local authorities, NHS trusts, universities, trade unions, local businesses and housing associations.

Interest in the role of anchor institutions has arisen in recent years due to their potential to generate economic growth and bring social improvements to the local community and environment.  While the primary objective of anchors may  not always be local regeneration or tackling poverty, the scale of these institutions, their fixed assets and activities as well as their links to the local community mean that they are ‘sticky capital’ on which local development strategies, inclusive growth and social improvements can be based.

Anchor institutions are ‘community wealth builders’ and can be used to harness potential of existing wealth, assets and institutions within a place and thus bring benefits for local economies and residents.  The contractual relationships which anchors have now or can forge in the future are a fundamental basis to advance greater co=operation and collaboration.

There are a range of ways in which different anchor institutions can leverage their assets and revenue to benefit the local area and local people.  In short, this is about maximising the impact of an institution’s activities beyond the direct service delivery role.  It is about ‘densifying’ impact in the economy through creating more local suppliers.


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