After serving Seven Stories, The National Centre for Children’s Books, as Chief Executive for 12 years Kate Edwards is stepping down from the role to pursue new professional challenges.

Kate joined Seven Stories’ Founders, Mary Briggs OBE and Elizabeth Hammill OBE, in 2002 and was part of the dynamic team that established Seven Stories, working as Development Director on the £6.5m capital project to convert the grade 2 listed building in the Ouseburn Valley, Newcastle upon Tyne, into the UK’s first children’s museum dedicated to children’s books and stories. 

As with most small charities, Kate’s job extended to many different roles - running community outreach projects, fundraising and developing the organisation through her HR and charity expertise. “There were only six people employed at Seven Stories when I started”, says Kate, “and as well implementing a complex capital project, we had to grow and develop quickly our organisation so that it had the skills and abilities to programme and operate a busy and lively visitor centre seven days a week.”  Seven Stories now employs 39 people, receives 60,000 visitors a year and its touring exhibitions have been seen by over 1.8 million people.

Kate succeeded Mary Briggs as Chief Executive in 2007.  Under Kate’s leadership Seven Stories gained National status from Arts Council England in 2012, and has won numerous accolades and awards, including the National Lottery Best Education Project in 2013 and NE Tourism Award for Best Large Venue in 2015. During this time the Seven Stories Collection has become one of the most extensive children’s literature archives in the UK, caring for the work of well-known authors such as Michael Morpurgo and Enid Blyton. Seven Stories has also gained a national and international reputation for its child friendly approach to children book inspired exhibitions and programmes.

Kate Edwards, Chief Executive of Seven Stories, said: “Serving Seven Stories has been the greatest professional honour and adventure of my life.  Children’s books and stories are an essential ingredient of childhood, which every child has the right to enjoy. I am very proud that we built Seven Stories in NE England and that I played a part in the legacy of this wonderful charity”.

Kate is stepping down to pursue new professional challenges and added: “it’s time to hand over the reins - I’m looking forward to seeing Seven Stories thrive under new leadership, and personally, to enjoying a new work life balance.”

Sally Pelham, Chair of Seven Stories Board of Trustees, said: “Kate has been at the heart of Seven Stories since its early days and has played a crucial role in its remarkable journey. We owe her a debt of gratitude for her tireless leadership, her dedication, her passion and her belief in Seven Stories and its mission.”

Kate stepped down from the role at Easter 2019.