THE CHIEF executive of Stratford Town Trust is to step down later this year.
Helen Munro first took up the post in 2012 but has decided the time is right to pursue other interests and will be retiring in October after almost four years in the top job.
During her time at the trust, Mrs Munro has been involved in securing the redevelopment of Bell Court, establishing key worker accommodation at Warwick House and bringing Hotel Du Vin to Stratford.
She was behind the new Stratford ArtsHouse, the £1million CommYOUnity Challenge, and the projects it enabled – a charities hub at Tyler House, a community pavillion at Stratford School and The Old Slaughterhouse in the town centre.
More recently, she has played a key role in securing a £100,000 Lottery grant to begin a major conservation project at the Guild Chapel.
But there have also been some challenging times during Mrs Munro’s tenure.
After announcing plans to put 7.8 acres of land bordering Welcombe Hills on the market last year, the trust faced a backlash from campaigners who argued it should not be sold to developers to make way for housing.
The charity maintained the move was necessary to help provide funding for the future but opposition to the plans grew before the trust performed an eleventh hour u-turn and pulled the plug on its decision.
The trust has also come under fire in recent weeks after revealing it is looking for a buyer for Mason’s Court.
Thought to be one of Stratford’s oldest properties, they say the Grade II listed building is in need of major repair and restoration work, which would cost somewhere in the region of £1million.
The trust maintain it has considered all options and in a bid to safeguard its future, the Rother Street property will be marketed for sale at a public auction next Monday.
Of her time at Stratford Town Trust, Mrs Munro said: “I have loved it – it has been a privilege working with so many different organisations. I feel proud to be part of a charity that does so much good in the town and makes the lives of others better.
“I work with an excellent team of trustees who keep me on my toes but are very supportive and professional so a huge thanks to them for appointing me. It’s now time for my husband and I to pursue our other interests.”
Chairman Alan Haigh said: “The trustees are very sad Helen has chosen to retire, but we respect her reasons and wish her and her family well.
“She has worked tirelessly for the trust and has achieved so much.
“Helen was the driving force behind a lot of positive projects in the town and although there have been challenging times, there have been very many more good and we thank Helen enormously.
“She will be a very hard act to follow.”