Laurie South has a great deal of experience in local, national and international government, in policy making and as a campaigner and is passionate about Kingston where he has lived for over 25 years.
Laurie is one of those people who has had very varied career. He started work as a lecturer in an FE college in Coventry before moving to rural Zambia where he became deputy headteacher of a co-educational secondary boarding school. On returning to the UK after 7 years Laurie studied for an MA in educational planning before working for the NUT, co-ordinating the Union’s work on several national bodies. Laurie’s career then took him to Humberside, where he was responsible for planning the re-organisation of schools in Hull, Grimsby and Goole. Next Laurie moved to the Inner London Education Authority becoming Acting Director of ILEA’s prestigious Research and Statistics Department, before being promoted to Head of Planning and Resources for ILEA’s 26 FE colleges and 5 polytechnics.
ILEA was abolished by Mrs Thatcher’s government, and Laurie became chief executive of the regional advisory council for further and higher education in London and the South East, campaigning on behalf of the newly independent FE colleges. Laurie wrote education policy briefings for the shadow Labour cabinet and undertook educational planning consultancies in Dubai and Malaysia. He moved on to work in senior positions for a Training and Enterprise Council. Amongst his roles was that of overseeing the expansion of pre-school provision in the TEC area by 700 per cent. Subsequent to that he was a senior officer at the Local Government Information Unit, a national organisation providing policy briefings for local councillors and campaigning on local government issues. Laurie’s final role was that of chief executive of PRIME – a sister charity to the Prince’s Trust but for the over 50s. Laurie became a strong national advocate for the over 50s, undertaking TV and radio interviews along with writing numerous articles for newspapers. He persuaded the EU to develop policies and programmes for the unemployed but forgotten over 50s.
Laurie worked on the book “Children of the Future” a manifesto for education with Frances Morrell, the leader of ILEA, co-ordinated the Outstanding Adult Learners Awards in London, ran a loan fund for “olderpreneur”, and wrote extensively on business start-ups including a manual for creating a social enterprise.
Outside paid work Laurie has been in the Labour Party for over 30 years, and has been chair of Kingston & Surbiton Labour Party for a number of those. He has been involved in the community through a community development project in Tottenham, a charity helping those with mental health illnesses to find employment in Kingston, various amateur dramatic societies, and as a Morris dancer.
So, Laurie has a great deal of experience in local, national and international government, in policy making and as a campaigner. He is a man as at home in meeting with the community as in high-level meetings.
But he is also passionate about Kingston where he has lived for over 25 years. He believes Kingston has the wonderful advantages of having a population comprising a balance of different ages, but also of having a wonderfully diverse population. The ingredients are there, Laurie believes, for a dynamic town. But to reach its full potential Kingston needs:
(i) A national government, working closely with all partners, committed to growth and investment in the economy, not austerity and economic contraction: Kingston will find its full potential when the government invests in the infra-structure: Crossrail 2, buses, roads, high-speed broad-band, research and industrial plant and machinery, renewable energy: and offers the support for all businesses that enables them to flourish.
(ii) An emphasis on education from the cradle to the grave: from an expansion of pre-schools, sufficient properly resourced schools, training through funding FE provision and apprenticeships, more integration of the University with the town, and the expansion of adult and continuing learning.
(iii) Housing that all can afford: from more council and social homes, security for private renters, and special provision for those who have disabilities or who fallen on hard times.
(iv) Health and social care: Kingston hospital and surrounding hospitals must be properly resourced so everyone has confidence they can be helped in an appropriate time-scale whatever their illness, but adult social care must be integrated with NHS provision.