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Annual Meeting Showcase celebrates the life of Stafford and Rural Homes
The 13-year history of Stafford and Rural Homes (SARH) was celebrated last week during a memorable annual meeting staged as the organisation prepares for merger.
Customers, stakeholders and staff past and present paid tribute to the organisation during an event that followed a ‘This is Your Life’ format hosted by the housing association’s own Eamonn Andrews, Governance Manager Paul Robinson.
Chief Executive, Karen Armitage, also took the stage to pay tribute to everyone that had played a part in the SARH success story that’s seen the organisation create Great Places to Live, Work and Grow.
“When the housing stock was transferred to us from Stafford Borough Council in 2006, we wanted to do more than manage homes and we set out to create spaces where people feel proud to live,” Karen said.
“This would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of our team and, looking back, one of my proudest moments has been our success in the Sunday Times 100 Best Not-for-Profit Companies to work for, when we were the top placed Housing Association on the list and second overall in 2018.”
The Annual Meeting also included a summary of the organisation’s many achievements to date ahead of the planned merger with the Housing Plus Group.
These include the building or acquisition of 1,000 new homes and an overall investment of over £280 million in the Borough. The housing associations subsidiary, Housing Worx, has also delivered a £4.7m profit – the equivalent to building 45 new affordable homes – that’s also been reinvested in affordable housing.
SARH has also taken the lead on a wide range of projects aimed at improving the health and wellbeing of local residents and achieved an impressive 11 RoSPA Gold medals alongside numerous other awards and accolades.
Around 120 customers, suppliers, staff and board members joined civic leaders – including the Mayor and Mayoresses of Stafford and Stone attended the Annual Meeting at the SARH headquarters in Parker Court Stafford.
They also heard – via video – from Sarah Boden, Chief Executive of Housing Plus who is to become the CEO of the new Housing Plus Group at the end of the month.
Moving forward, Housing Plus will own and manage approximately 18,000 homes, employ up to 800 people locally and have an annual turnover of almost £100m.
It’s also pledged to begin building 2,000 new homes by 2023 and is committed to delivering one-third more hours of care and support for customers while creating 100 new apprenticeships within the next five years and remain accountable to its customers, who will continue to have a voice at board level.
In a heartfelt tribute to the outgoing CEO, the Chair of the SARH Board, Alison Hadden, added: “Her achievements are too many to list here, but Karen’s energy, humour and commitment to the organisation have played a huge part in its success.”