In addition to his business career, Lawrence is an active community leader and equalities campaigner. For over a decade he has served as festival director of Birmingham Pride successfully transforming it into the second largest pride festival in the country. He is a West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) leadership commissioner and a board director of the Birmingham Southside BID. His role with the leadership commission is to promote equality and diversity within the WMCA area. Southside BID is a business-led initiative aimed at improving the local trading environment.

In March 2020, in recognition of his community work, Lawrence was appointed to be a Deputy Lieutenant of the West Midlands. 

Birmingham Pride

Birmingham Pride

In 2009 Lawrence was appointed festival director of Birmingham Pride. He and his team set about transforming Pride from what was seen by many as a fringe event restricted to the gay district in Birmingham’s Southside into a broader more inclusive festival open to families and individuals from all walks of society. Key to transforming the festival’s appeal and popularity was enhancing its visibility. Traditionally consigned to a 6pm slot on a Sunday evening, over a three-year period of intense lobbying Lawrence successfully persuaded city authorities to grant the Birmingham Pride parade a prime-time slot that would see the route run through the heart of Birmingham city centre.

Lawrence continues to serve as festival director. Under his direction the event has transformed from a fringe attraction attended by a few thousand spectators to the second largest pride festival in the country. The parade has boasted over 7,000 participants and over 100,000 spectators. Over the years, it has raised over £275,000 of direct charitable donations and is estimated to deliver an economic impact to the city in excess of £30m.

West Midlands Lieutenancy

In March 2020, Lawrence was formally appointed to be a Deputy Lieutenant of the West Midlands by Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of the region, John Crabtree OBE.

As a Deputy Lieutenant Lawrence supports the Lord-Lieutenant in his role as the Queen's regional representative. He helps to promote a spirit of cooperation and good atmosphere by supporting local voluntary and benevolent organisations as well as the broader business and social life of the region.

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Lawrence with Birmingham City Council leader Ian Ward

Night-Time Economy Champion

In 2022, Lawrence was appointed Birmingham's Night-Time Economy Champion by the city council, for a four-year term.

Lawrence will be working with night-life business leaders and workers, Business Improvement Districts, and other key stakeholders to set out priorities and lobby for changes which will ensure that people can have a safe and enjoyable time when they visit the city centre.

Birmingham Southside BID

In 2011 Lawrence was recruited as the LGBT community representative onto the newly conceived board of Birmingham Southside BID.

A voluntary role, board members determine the most effective ways to allocate the proceeds from the levy the local authority applies to businesses within the district. Totalling approximately £500,000, funds can be spent on infrastructure, neighbourhood aesthetics, cleaning services and other areas to enhance the district’s appeal. The board is also offered a voice in terms of the strategic direction for the city as a whole.

Lawrence has been an active member of the Southside BID board and has played a key role in its major achievements, including the transformation of the Hippodrome Square into an open-air theatre venue for concerts and events. The board has also done much to improve the fabric of the area by working with police and local authority services to reduce crime, reduce littering, display public art and make the district a more attractive place as a whole.

Birmingham Southside BID Mp
Birmingham Bull

WMCA Leadership Commission

In 2017 Lawrence was invited by Birmingham Mayor, Andy Street, to become a West Midlands Leadership Commissioner.

Lawrence continues to play an active role on the Commission which campaigns to deliver a generational change in the diversity of leadership in the West Midlands region.

Lawrence’s latest commentary