How Stratford Town Trust is helping town's Strategic Partnership shape Stratford's future - Sara Aspley

How Stratford Town Trust is helping town's Strategic Partnership shape Stratford's future - Sara Aspley

Stratford Town Trust, a historic organisation in Stratford upon Avon, is the custodian of an endowed estate which includes 112 properties in the town and awards grants to local charities.

It sits on the town’s Strategic Partnership Group, a collaboration between local authorities and prominent stakeholder organisations which is helping to influence key projects to improve Stratford for residents and visitors alike.

Sara Aspley, chief executive of Stratford Town Trust, explains why the Trust’s input is so important to the Partnership’s goals:

Stratford Town Trust is one of the biggest landlords in Stratford, and, as such, is heavily involved in the economic health and prosperity of the town.

The Trust has been in existence since the time of King Edward VI, who created an early form of the Trust by way of a Royal Charter.

Originally, it was responsible for maintaining King Edward’s School with the purpose of providing education for the boys of the town (at a time when girls did not receive any formal education), the alms houses in Church Street, Stratford at the time, and paying a stipend to the vicar of Holy Trinity Church.

The Trust in its current form was created in 2001, and its mission is to maximise assets and work in partnership to enhance the quality of life for the people of Stratford-upon-Avon, whilst working towards delivering a vision of creating a connected and vibrant community. This is principally achieved through providing financial grants to local groups and charities.

The Trust’s endowed estate of £55 million generates an income, much of which comes from the commercial properties in our portfolio. This also means that the Trust has a unique role to play in helping to curate the town centre offer through a mix of retail properties and assets like The Guild Chapel, the Lench Meadows the bandstand and Rowley Fields.

We really value the opportunity to share our insights around revitalising the town centre and improving Bridge Street and High Street with the Strategic Partnership stakeholders and other property owners to help to shape the future prosperity of the town

As a landlord we are ‘on the ground’ so to speak, so we can see first-hand the impact of things such as empty units and traffic issues on Stratford. We work hard to make sure our properties remain occupied with businesses that add to the retail offer in the town. In turn this enables us to continue to award grants to local charities that support the residents of Stratford.

Collaboration is absolutely crucial to making the right decisions at the right time. That’s why the Strategic Partnership is such an important group for Stratford’s future.

I’ve lived and worked in Stratford for a long time, and it’s reassuring to see all major Partnership stakeholders to work together with a real focus on practical achievement. At the Trust we’re looking forward to contributing further to the Partnership and helping to play a part in shaping Stratford for the future.