Leslie Huckfield is a lecturer and researcher at Glasgow Caledonian University. He is a trade union and third sector activist, known for his work on social enterprise and cooperatives.

Leslie Huckfield has an Oxford PPE degree, a Master’s in Urban Planning from Heriot Watt and a PhD from Glasgow Caledonian University, where he has been a lecturer and researcher since 2016.

He is a Director of SENSCOT (Social Entrepreneurs’ Network Scotland) and of the Sheffield Cooperative Development Group. Throughout 2018 and 2019 he was a member of Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell MP’s Implementation Group for Doubling the Size of the Cooperative Economy. He is also a member of the Aizlewood Group, based at Aizlewood’s Mill, Sheffield – a group of cooperators and trade unionists which defends public services and cooperation against the market and competition.

He was MP for Nuneaton and Bedworth in the West Midlands until May 1983. After the Boundary Commissioners split his constituency, he was defeated by Tony Blair in the Selection Conference to become Labour MP for Sedgefield. He was then elected as Member of the European Parliament for Merseyside East from 1984 till 1989, becoming Vice Chair of the Parliament’s Transport Committee.

He was a member of the Labour Party National Executive Committee from 1978 till 1982, where he represented cooperatives and socialist societies. In 1980, he chaired the NEC’s Working Party on Cooperatives, which produced the Party’s statement on cooperatives for Labour’s 1983 General Election Manifesto.

He has a strong background in the third sector, including cooperatives and social enterprises. He was joint leader of the occupation of the Triumph Motorcycle factory in Meriden in 1973, when workers formed a workers’ cooperative, and he helped the Taunton Shirt Cooperative in 1981. He was a member of the London Cooperative Society Political Committee from 1978 till 1993.

From 1989 till 1992 he was External Funding Manager for St Helens College, Merseyside and in 1992 founded the Merseyside Colleges’ European Group, with an office in Liverpool’s Albert Dock, to secure EU funding for all Merseyside Colleges. From 1995 till 1997 he was Principal Manager External Funding for Wirral Metropolitan College, Birkenhead. In 1997 he set up Leslie Huckfield Research.

From September 1997 in the West Midlands he worked on EU funding for Wolverhampton College, Tamworth and Lichfield Colleges and the Association of Colleges. He was a member of the Advantage West Midlands Regional Development Agency Task Force on EU Funding.

He moved to Scotland in 2004 and worked on EU funded projects in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland and produced projects for Venezuela, Ghana and the Caribbean. He also supported higher education access in the West Midlands, working with the Black Country Partnership for Learning.

Since 2004 he has also worked on third sector, FE and HE projects in Scotland. In 2008 he set up the Plean Community Development Trust in Stirling’s Eastern Villages. In 2011 and 2012 he helped with funding for Start Up Stirling to develop Stirling’s Food Bank. In 2015 and 2016 he delivered a series of 11 EU Funding Masterclass across Scotland, attended by 500 representatives from Scotland’s social enterprises and community organisations.

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