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


Events shows forthcoming events in which Les is involved

Resources offers Blogs by Les, his more detailed Contributions and his Recommendations of contributions by others. All these are public resources, so please feel free to “cut and paste”, provided you acknowledge the source.

Academia shows Les’ articles in academic journals and books.

Teaching shows Les’ university teaching at Glasgow Caledonian and the Open University

Contact offers an easy way to contact Les. He looks forward to hearing from visitors to his site.

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

He was a Director of SENSCOT (Social Enterprise Network Scotland) from 2009 till 2020 and until March 2022 was a Director 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, after contributing to the Labour Party’s “Alternative Models of Ownership” Report in 2017. 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 marketisation and cut throat 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 in May 1983.

In 1983, he ran the Campaign to Protect and Improve Transport in London, working closely with Ken Livingstone and John McDonnell and funded by the Greater London Council.

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, including recommending legislation similar to the “Macora Law” in Italy which supports workers to form cooperatives.

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. In 2003, he was part 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 developed projects to increase higher education access and outreach in the West Midlands, working with the Black Country Partnership for Learning to enhance FE and HE access to learning following the 2008/2009 financial crisis.

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.

He has been a lecturer in social enterprise and business management at Glasgow Caledonian University since 2016 and continues to write articles and deliver seminars for the third sector. His more recent contributions can be seen on the Aizlewood Group site.

He is also an Associate Lecturer at the Open University and a member of the DD226 Economics in Practice Module Team.

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