Monday, July 1, 2019

News: Future looks Grimm for Rotherham church

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Grimm & Co, the innovative literacy charity that brings a truly unique retail offering to Rotherham's High Street, is preparing for its next chapter with ambitious £1.3m expansion plans to take on a prominent church building in Rotherham town centre.

Opening in a former pub in 2016, the Apothecary to the Magical sells wild schemes, evil plots, charms, curses and kitchenware. It was recently voted "No. 159 best shop for all things wicked" by Witch? magazine.

Above the shop, the Yorkshire charity runs innovative storytelling and writing workshops for children in the local area, to unleash their imaginations and build confidence, self-respect and communication skills. Since its inception, Grimm & Co has educated and engaged 9,300 children in school trips and workshops.

Now a planning application has been submitted for reimagining the Talbot Lane Methodist Church as a much larger premises for the charity, affording it greater possibilities to deliver its mission to change lives one story at a time.

Moving across town from Doncaster Gate, the proposal would enable Grimm & Co to develop income generation, adding to the retail offer to include a food & beverage offer – "The Book & Broomstick."

The unique workshops are free for children so the charity, which relies on volunteers, must continually work to raise funds. The apothecary shop supports the charity, with all proceeds going towards the running of the workshops.

The current workshops are booked up throughout the year but Talbot Lane would enable three schools to visit at once.

The Grade II listed church has recently closed and has been put up for sale following dwindling attendances.

The costed £1.3m plans from Grimm & Co for the 11,797 sq ft building include splitting the nave and putting in a new first floor; creating additional teaching rooms; installing new catering, kitchen and toilet facilities; improving accessibility with a new lift; and installing a pergola and entrance feature with outside seating.

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The plans state that the charity "has become so successful that the number of workshops and events that Grimm & Co are able to provide from their Wellgate base are at capacity leading to a need to seek relocation to a larger footprint.

"Approval of this planning application will represent a continued and enhanced presence of Grimm & Co within Rotherham town centre and provide a sustainable new use for the former Methodist Church building."
The plans, drawn up by Halliday Clark Architects, explains that the alternative property:

"A) keeps our service in Rotherham town centre (close to the children who need us the most)

"B) Enables us to develop income generation - our retail to include the hugely requested food & beverage offer – The Book & Broomstick – starting small in catering for families and weekly children's parties (huge requests for these) throughout the week and eventually working up to event / wedding catering for large volumes and pre-bookings + performances / theatre offers to showcase our children’s writing – increasing revenue possibilities to support the charity work behind the scenes

"C) It enables greater sustainability and forward planning for our charity

"D) It allows for scale up – demand from schools and for our out of school activity is far higher than we can currently meet – this would enable 3 schools to visit at once – allowing us to reach 3 times current levels. All our current bookings are because of word of mouth recommendations and we are booked up throughout the year. This would enable us to market our activities to schools and families, reaching more children and young people

"E) It will enable us to provide our free out of school services to greater numbers of beneficiaries – currently we are restricted through physical space and unrestricted funds."
The site has been used as a Methodist Chapel for over 250 years and the current church is a 1903 Gothic revival building. The plans are set to retain a number of stand out features including keeping views of the coved ceiling, retaining the oak paneling, keeping the original Organ in place and making sure new additions reflect the Art Nouveau detailing.

The plans add that funding will need to be secured in order to purchase the building and turn the plans into reality: "The timing is perfect but doesn't allow sufficient time to raise this level of funds through philanthropic gifts, and retail revenue is restricted due to current location limitations. Therefore we need to build capital funds through a range of sources to meet the total requirement of £1.3m.

"Talbot Lane is a much larger property that has recently entered the market and secured an agreement with option to purchase that will hold the property off the market until December 2019 whilst we are able to secure finance for purchase and development by raising funds through bids and philanthropy."

Grimm & Co. website

Images: Grimm & Co. / Halliday Clark

6 comments:

Anonymous,  July 1, 2019 at 1:37 PM  

So is the old pub, to be vacated after the move?

Tom,  July 1, 2019 at 1:49 PM  

The plans show that the aim is to purchase the new building and manage the exit from the lease on the current building.

royherbert July 1, 2019 at 9:45 PM  

This building would if done properly would be a fantastic venue and keep with the theme more than the current premises do, and keep a valued historic property intact win-win all round, Good luck.

M Benson,  July 2, 2019 at 12:08 PM  

Best wishes for the project. Some useful development, at last, for the Town Centre.

Mr me July 3, 2019 at 11:00 AM  

Won't it leave the former pub empty though?

RichGods July 3, 2019 at 9:19 PM  

And? They have outgrown it, be happy for them.

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