Meet the team

John Denham
Director

John Denham is a founder and director of the Southern Policy Centre. John’s projects have included work on regional strategy, devolution, widening participation, poverty in southern England and youth issues. John Denham was the MP for Southampton Itchen from 1992 until he stood down at the 2015 election. He held a variety of ministerial and Cabinet posts in the last Labour Government and also chaired the Home Affairs Select Committee. In addition to his SPC role, he is a Professorial Fellow at Southampton University where he is Director of the Centre for English Identity and Politics. Prior to entering parliament, John worked in the voluntary sector and was a Hampshire and Southampton councillor.

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Simon Eden
Director

Simon is a public policy consultant and a Director of the Southern Policy Centre, the think-tank for the central South. Originally from London, Simon began his career as a research biologist before joining the Civil Service, where he worked on local government funding and policy. In 1999 he was appointed Assistant Chief Executive of Southampton City Council and became Director of Sustainability & Development in 2001. In 2003 Simon was appointed Chief Executive of Winchester City Council. He led the Council for 13 years before leaving to become a policy wonk all over again.

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Stewart Dunn
Director and Chair
Stewart has extensive business knowledge following a life long career in Regional Newspapers at Senior Management level and for twenty-two years was Managing Director of Newsquest Hampshire. Following retirement from the press, he was awarded an honorary doctorate from Solent University for his contribution to business and the media. Stewart joined CarswellGould Communications, as Managing Director and was appointed as CEO of Hampshire Chamber of Commerce in 2013.   During his time with the Chamber, he was chair of Creative Network South an organisation promoting and supporting the creative industries, together with being Chair of Future South. He was appointed as a Hampshire Commissioner to work with colleagues on the Hampshire 2050 project in 2018.
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Mark Braggins
Associate

Mark Braggins is Director of AHA Digital Ltd, which helps people and organisations connect with each other. He is also Business Development and Research Manager for Drawnalism, who specialise in ‘Drawing Knowledge’. He has led technology and business change projects across several sectors, including retail, financial services and local government. Mark founded and is lead organiser of Open Data Camp - the national unconference for the open data movement. He co-authored Data for the community on behalf of Power to Change, looking at how data assets are being used at a local level.

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Denise Edghill
Associate

Denise Edghill has significant experience of working in the public, private and voluntary sectors, primarily in roles to promote local economic growth, productivity and social inclusion. As Director of Growth at Southampton City Council, she led ambitious plans to regenerate the city, with responsibility for a diverse range of services including transport, planning, property, skills, economic development and culture. Her previous roles ranged from voluntary sector programme management in London to running a commercial art gallery in Marlborough. Denise has been employment and skills advisor to the Local Government Association, she managed the Cabinet Office interface for the Southampton and Portsmouth City Deal on behalf of both cities and led the negotiations with HM Treasury for a Solent Devolution Deal on behalf of Solent leaders. Denise chaired the EU Structural Funds Committee for the Solent LEP area, and she also chaired the judging of the annual South Coast Business Awards. She holds a BA (Hons) in History and Politics, Grad IPM/CIPD, and an MA in Education (M Ed).