Tuesday, February 14, 2023

News: Funding for fit-out at Grimm & Co


Rotherham-based charity, Grimm & Co, is in line for a funding boost for its innovative new premises that will introduce an Emporium of Stories, The Feastery, The Book Nook and Cliffhanger Castle, to Rotherham town centre.

Leading design experts at Lumsden Design have been appointed to make the imaginitive space a reality.

The charity has been running since 2014 and was founded by Deborah Bullivant, who developed the story destination and a suite of activities, built on a bedrock of action research that demonstrated real and significant positive impact on literacies for children and young people and families - especially for those communities, often left behind.

Following the purchase of a former church building on Ship Hill, Grimm & Co were looking to proceed with the renovation and refurbishment work when lockdown hit. The closure of the story centre and magical shop on Doncaster Gate, the diversion of promised funds and the enforced cancellation of fundraising events, meant that plans for the building were put on hold and all efforts concentrated on taking their creative delivery to children and young people online and directly into communities.

The charity has carried out activities at Clifton Park, Gulliver’s Valley and took space in the Old Town Hall in the town centre.

Having extended its status as a “National Portfolio Organisation” for another three years, with £247,116 per year up to 2026, a tender exercise for the internal fitout works for the new home was completed in June 2022 where costs came back significantly higher than expected.

The South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority (SYMCA) is now looking to support the £2.9m project with a £620,000 grant.

Papers explain: "Although the chosen contractor was the lowest priced (as well as the highest scoring tender submission) they are still over the original budget which has led to this funding request of £617k to cover the cost increases, alongside £110k provided by Key Fund.

"This scheme will provide a ‘hub’ for Grimm & Co (a registered charity) to support under-resourced children and young people aged 0 - 18 with their confidence and skills around creativity and writing. Examples of programmes planned to be delivered in the new ‘hub’ by Grimm & Co include: workshops to school children focusing on creative writing; sessions aimed at engaging teachers in professional development; production of digital resources to encourage writing; and a ‘festival of stories’. "

Contractors at TH Michaels are currently on site and Lumsden Design Ltd is set to carry out the fit-out work and the renovated church will become an Emporium of Stories and also include a story themed café called The Feastery, a book shop (The Book Nook) and an entertainment zone - Cliffhanger Castle.

As the charity put it in its annual report: "We invite you to venture into a place unlike anything you’ve seen before, with more learning spaces, more gym equipment for your imaginations, a place to fill your stomach in the Feastery, a place to fill your boots in the Apothecary, a place that is safe and welcoming to all, where children and young people can celebrate being themselves and feel empowered in their own creative abilities, oh, and there’ll also be an overgrown beanstalk too."

Lumsden designs retail for destinations – cultural, entertainment and visitor attractions worldwide, including for The British Museum and Harry Potter retail destinations such as Platform 9 3/4 at Kings Cross and the Warner Bros. Studio Tour.

Grimm's shop in the Old Town Hall closes on Saturday February 25 with the online shop remaining available. The opening of the new premises is scheduled for June 2023.

Grimm & Co website

Images: Grimm & Co / Google Maps


Anonymous,  February 14, 2023 at 1:59 PM  

So, another project within Rotherham Town Centre has run out money and needed to be bailed out. No doubt Grimm & Co took its financial advice from RMBC.

And another empty retail unit looms within Rotherham Town Centre.

Michael,  February 14, 2023 at 10:53 PM  

Did you even read the article? It clearly explains the factors that have impacted finances, and is nothing to do with the council. Grimm & Co do fantastic work and deserve all the investment they can get.

Anonymous,  February 15, 2023 at 2:19 PM  

What does a "National Portfolio Organisation" even mean?

Would love to know how much of the £2.9m they need has actually been raised through Grimm & Co's own fundraising efforts and not from various grant schemes.

Anonymous,  February 15, 2023 at 3:39 PM  

1,000's of schoolkids get support with literacy and Rotherham town centre gets a unique retail destination. This is a really positive thing!!

Anonymous,  February 15, 2023 at 4:30 PM  

It's criminal what they're doing to that beautiful church.

Anonymous,  February 16, 2023 at 7:32 AM  

And your alternative plans to save a beautiful but costly and under-utilised building are...?

Anonymous,  February 16, 2023 at 12:10 PM  

Yes,I agree,it's also a little sagreligous,to convert a church into a business that as all things whitchcraft(even though it's only for kids!

Anonymous,  February 16, 2023 at 3:45 PM  

All religion is as fictional as stories about Wizards so it shouldn't really matter. It's 2023, it's much better that the building is used for something good like Grimm & Co than leave it to rot, or get set on fire like everything else in Rotherham

Anonymous,  February 16, 2023 at 7:57 PM  

You say that,....wonder would happen if the religious building just up the road from there ,used to be a church now a mosque was converted??Riots ,that's what would happen.Also you say religion isnt important,yet I felt you've family who are christened,and family who have words if religion spoken at there funerals.Typical of people today,come out with rubbish!

Anonymous,  February 17, 2023 at 7:04 AM  

Very true, and racist rubbish at that. There must be more appropriate sites for your bile?

Anonymous,  February 17, 2023 at 7:10 AM  

Going off tangent a bit but still on the topic of underutilised or unused buildings, can someone explain to me why Peck House has been allowed to stand rotting for more than 50 years? This eyesore stands at the side of one of the main gateways into Rotherham and simply contributes to the the narrative of Council inertia.

Anonymous,  February 17, 2023 at 11:27 AM  

Yes, I do have family members who were christened, mostly done out of tradition when they were a child and had no say it. I wouldn't describe any one of them as a Christian. And so what if they are? I can still think it's a load of rubbish even if my family members were to think different. I wasn't Christened and I'm glad about that.

The mosque wouldn't get converted because it's still in use as a mosque. If the church was still in use as a church it wouldn't be getting converted either. Christianity is dwindling in this country. When Islam eventually goes the same way, the mosques will be converted too.

Religion shouldn't have any importance in 2023, it was only invented to control the masses and used to explain things that science hadn't yet discovered. We should have all evolved a bit more by now rather than still believing in Fairy Stories.

Anonymous,  February 17, 2023 at 3:00 PM  

If the Church was viable as a Church it would still be open. Clearly it wasn't, so it is fantastic to see this building being put to use by an excellent and worthwhile charitable organization. Comments about the mosque are irrelevant to the debate about redevelopment as it is still open.

Anonymous,  February 17, 2023 at 3:11 PM  

As far as the original post is concerned, it is far from the first time that the words church and criminal have been linked.

Anonymous,  February 17, 2023 at 3:17 PM  

I think you would benefit from a session or two at the Literacy Project

Anonymous,  February 17, 2023 at 5:39 PM  

The congregation at Talbot were unable to do anything to the interior as it was listed. This severely constrained what and how the church could be used beyond Sunday mornings and the occasional concert.

Now there's sniff of public money, it's a case of out with the pews and in with slides. I'd love to know how they got around it.

It seems bizarre that there is money available to make a mockery of this wonderful building, but there wasn't any money available to help the church congregation when it needed it. Grimm & Co do some good work, I'll not deny that, but this project is in very bad taste.

Anonymous,  February 18, 2023 at 6:45 AM  

Like everything else, that is a matter of opinion. I support the project one hundred per cent.

Anonymous,  February 18, 2023 at 10:45 AM  

Grimm and co will benefit a much larger number of people than it would as a Church. If the congregation wanted to keep it as a church they should’ve paid for the upkeep. Education is much more important than religion. No public money should be spent on religion of any kind in this day and age.

Anonymous,  February 18, 2023 at 12:46 PM  

The mosque reference was not only irrelevant, but also overtly racist

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