04 Nov 2021

National funding to tackle health inequalities across Leeds

The Leeds Anchors Network has been awarded funding of £450,000 to reduce health inequalities across the most disadvantaged communities in Leeds.

From September 2021, this funding will support new opportunities for a joined-up approach to economic and health issues, focusing on areas with the most need. A dedicated team will work to strengthen links with communities, co-design projects with social or economic benefit, create new employment or training opportunities, and measure the impact on health of local people.  

The £1.7 million funding split across a number of cities in the UK is provided by The Health Foundation, an independent charity supporting better health and healthcare across the UK. Under the Economies for Healthier Lives programme, a small number of projects will work to create partnerships and benefit local communities across a city or region.

The Leeds Anchors Network consists of large organisations and employers across the city with a shared commitment to improving the lives of local communities. The network has already been supporting projects to build skills, encourage companies based in Leeds to spend with local suppliers and create opportunities for good work.

This initiative is particularly important to the city’s recovery from Covid-19, as poverty and deprivation remain significant challenges in some parts of Leeds, with inequalities widening during the pandemic, such as mortality rates and vaccine uptake.

Councillor Jonathan Pryor, deputy leader and executive member for economy, culture, and education, said: ‘This is a major success for Leeds and will help us to continue to ensure that our poorest communities are benefiting from success and growth in the city. We know that health inequalities can be improved through a joined-up and targeted approach and this funding offers us the chance to work towards a healthier Leeds with economic opportunities across all our communities.’

Professor Peter Slee, chair of the Leeds Anchors Network, said: “Anchor Institutions make a major contribution to the character of a local economy. Our city network is working hard to create high quality job opportunities and to enhance the skills of local people and to encourage Leeds-based companies to use local suppliers. We employ one in seven of the workforce, spend more than £2bn every year with suppliers, and of course deliver vital services across which underpin our region’s thriving economy. This additional funding will enable us to provide new opportunities in the areas of Leeds that are most in need.”

Sharlene McGee, policy Mmanager at the Health Foundation said:

“As we seek to rebuild the economy post-pandemic and ‘level up’ UK regions, there is an opportunity to create more inclusive economies geared towards reducing inequalities and improving health. These innovative projects will show how joint action across economic and health can help our communities to thrive. Economies for Healthier Lives will provide valuable evidence for local authorities and central government, to help inform how local areas across the UK can take steps to ‘level up’ their health and economies.”



Notes to Editors:


  1. The Health Foundation is an independent charity committed to bringing about better health and health care for people in the UK. From giving grants to those working at the front line to carrying out research and policy analysis, they aim to shine a light on how to make successful change happen. Visit org.uk

  2. The Leeds Anchors Network develops practical actions to support the achievement of the city’s ambitions on inclusive growth and health and wellbeing. It aims to ensure the workforce of the largest publicly-funded organisations in the city are more representative of their communities, and to improve economic and social benefits to the city’s disadvantaged neighbourhoods.

The Network comprises 13 Anchor institutions who collectively employ over 58,000 employees in Leeds, with annual expenditure in excess of £2bn.

Visit leedsgrowthstrategy.co.uk/anchor-institutions

For media enquiries contact:

Leeds City Council Communications team