What a week for our Group Chief Executive! Sinéad Butters MBE, Group Chief Executive of Aspire Housing and Chair of PlaceShapers, has been granted honorary doctorates from two Staffordshire universities this week in recognition of her critical role in support of local communities.

Sinéad received the Doctor of the University award from Keele University on Tuesday for her achievements and support for North Staffordshire communities, with the university highlighting her work in transforming people’s lives through raising aspirations, community development and social enterprise.

The accolades didn’t stop there, however. On Wednesday the gesture was mirrored when Staffordshire University also honoured her with the Doctor of the University award, this time in recognition of her role in promoting opportunities for young people in North Staffordshire.

Sinéad, who grew up in Staffordshire, says: “It is 30 years to the month since I graduated from Keele University. I did a degree in history and politics there. It’s a real honour to be recognised. It was a big surprise.”

Sinéad joined Aspire Housing in 2000 and has been Chief Executive since 2006. Under her leadership the business has grown substantially – it now manages nearly 9,000 homes – and has broadened its services via the acquisition of Staffordshire’s largest apprenticeship provider, PM Training.

PM Training supports around 2,500 individuals each year; working with local businesses to prepare young people for work, helping adults into employment, and creating over 250 apprenticeships annually for 16 to 18 year olds. Also encompassed under the we are aspire brand is the Realise charity. With gift aid from PM Training and donations from local people and businesses, Realise provides essential support to help people in Staffordshire progress in their education and gain employment.

In October 2015 Sinéad became Chair of PlaceShapers, the national network of over 100 community-based housing associations, with a collective goal to achieve real and lasting improvements in the communities they serve.

These two honorary doctorates are the latest in a series of commendations for the Aspire Housing chief executive. In the 2016 New Year Honours list, Sinéad was awarded an MBE for her services to housing. It recognised her work in the sector, raising the profile of housing issues and passionately improving lives and communities in Staffordshire.

Sinéad adds: “This week has been unforgettable for me and my family. Thanks to Keele University and Staffordshire University for giving me such special memories. I’m so proud and feel lucky to work with such great people every day through my work in housing and our communities.”

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