Creating Great Places to Live, Work and Grow

As a Times BEST Company Stafford and Rural Homes (SARH) is recognised as a values-based organisation.

SARH is currently governed by a Board consisting of 10 members: three nominated by the Local Authority, two Customer Board members and five independent Board members.

The Leadership Team are key to the strategic development of the Company and its overall vision of ‘Creating Great Places to Live, Work and Grow’.

Karen Armitage

Chief Executive

Karen joined Stafford and Rural Homes as Chief Executive in February 2006. Her twelve years at the company have been driven by the passionate belief that “good quality housing is the base from which all people can become successful”. Since 2006, she has overseen the growth of Stafford and Rural Homes in to a Times Top 100 Not for Profit Best Company, achieving 10th place in 2015. Karen prides herself on her values and people-focused approach with staff, customers and the local community.
With a housing career that began at Warrington Borough Council and now spans more than 25 years, Karen is also a Governing Board member at the Chartered Institute of Housing, a member of the Stafford Chamber of Commerce, a key partner on the Stafford Borough Strategic Partnership and a Women Achievers nominee.

Stephen Duffill

Executive Director of Resources

Stephen joined Stafford and Rural Homes as Executive Director of Resources in May 2017 and is currently responsible for financial management, IT, and Governance. Before joining Stafford and Rural Homes, Stephen spent 11 years running his own company offering interim management services principally to Public and Not for Profit organisations delivering innovative solutions in senior finance roles across a range of sectors including housing, health and Central and Local Government.
Prior to running his own company, Stephen held a number of Director of Corporate Services roles primarily with companies involved in training, education and business 2 business services.
Having trained as an accountant with the Ministry of Defence and with in excess of 25 years experience as a senior finance professional, he has a strong Not for Profit sector background.

Chris Poulton

Executive Director of Operations

Chris joined Stafford and Rural Homes in 2012 having previously been a Director at two other housing organisations nationally recognised for delivering a 3 star excellent service.

His priorities include continuing to develop customer focused value for money services, building 600 new homes, area regeneration and continuing to grow SARH trading subsidiaries. Chris represents Stafford and Rural Homes on the national Rural Housing Alliance.

Jo Hough

Director of Organisational Development

Jo joined Stafford and Rural Homes as Head of Human Resources in January 2009. Her career experience spanning 17 years in all aspects of HR including recruitment, management development and training in commercial environments has given Jo the opportunity to make a real difference at Stafford and Rural Homes to the business as a whole and people in the local community.

With involvement in key developments such as the Stafford and Rural Homes Learning Academy, which provides opportunities for young people to gain skills to help them secure future employment, Jo is a very passionate and enthusiastic HR professional who excels in delivering both transactional and transformational services.

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