The Trust

Avenue House Estate Trust (HATE) is the charity responsible for that management of Stephens House and Gardens.

In the 1990s, a group of local people became concerned the Avenue House estate might one day be sold off by the council. In 2002, with agreement from the Council, the HATE was formed to lease the whole estate and manage it for community benefit. Today, Stephens House and Gardens is operating profitably.


Day to day management is in the hands of a General Manager, who is assisted by both paid staff and volunteers.

Malcolm Godfrey has been General Manager since 2012. He is a highly experienced hospitality professional and keen amateur historian.
Stewards help in running and maintenance of the house, from setting up rooms for events to cleaning function rooms and managing daily security.

Office staff open the house and gardens daily for the public. They also organise public and private events and functions, as well as deal with tenants and any problems and queries they may have.

Stephens House and Gardens employ a head gardener and assistant gardener responsible for the upkeep of the plant and tree life to the everyday maintenance of the gardens.

A dedicated in-house staff provides catering and hospitality services to celebrations and events taking place in the house.

A Board of Trustees

The Trust has a Board of nine Trustees responsible for the governance of Stephens House and Gardens. Seven are elected by the membership for three year terms, one is co-opted by the Board after being nominated by the Friends, and the ninth post is available for co-option by the Trustees.

Henry Edmund is the patron of the Trust and is the great-grandson of Henry Stephens. Henry is a Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society and an award-winning farmer.

Membership of Avenue House Estate Trust

Over one-hundred trust members contribute to the future of the Estate. Membership is offered to regular donors, regular volunteers and those making a significant contribution. The benefits of membership include discounts on selected events and room hire for personal events, a regular newsletter, ability to vote in the appointment of Trustees and more.

Information for volunteering

Volunteers carry out a range of tasks on the main estate including maintaining the gardens and assisting in the house. No special skills are required to help, though a horticultural or environmental studies background, or carpentry skills are particularly appreciated.