STAA is a gardener-run charity based on the historic St Ann's allotments, 75 acres of uniquely rich landscape in the heart of one of the most deprived and diverse communities in the country.As well as supporting gardeners, STAA runs heritage and environmental projects to engage and support local communities to enjoy, explore, learn and play together in the outdoors.
In times of economic hardship and the stresses of daily life, the allotments offer a thriving support network.
The longest-running of these projects, St Ann's Community Orchard, is a highly-regarded innovative therapeutic / educational initiative open to the whole community but with a particular focus on those in greatest need, particularly children and young people with additional learning needs and/or behavioural difficulties, and those on the margins of society, including mental health issues and the vulnerably-housed.
The Orchard has been a part of local children's life in St Ann's for over 10 years, from first steps in the outdoors at age 3 to street-wise teenagers who become Guardians of the project. It offers a non-judgemental, safe, therapeutic, fun, outdoor learning and play space, a vital haven from the pressures of inner-city growing up.
It supports vital early learning skills, social & emotional development, environmental awareness, creative imagination and the broader curriculum.
For the wider community, we offer access to a safe and beautiful part of their local environment, and the building of social networks and informal learning.
Our work is always evolving, finding new ways to address changing needs within our community.
Monthly Activity Days are free and open to all, often attracting 200+ local people, allowing them to access a "countryside-type" experience on their doorstep.
It is a common ground for all ages and cultures, often their first and only contact with the environment, where children can be children and adults can meet each other and enjoy the simple pleasures of community, nature and local food.