Wednesday, June 7, 2023

News: First look at Grimm & Co's newest chapter


Further images have been released of the Emporium of Stories, The Feastery, The Book Nook and Cliffhanger Castle - new magical spaces that are set to open in Rotherham town centre later this year.

Rothbiz revealed in February that literacy charity, Grimm & Co had appointed leading design experts at Lumsden Design to make its new imaginative space a reality.

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. They are leading the design, masterplan and fit out for the final phase of the charity's two year building project.

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 in 2020 thanks to support from an Arts Council England small capital grant, 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.

Now the charity says that it hopes to open on Ship Hill in Autumn 2023.

Turning the beautiful, gothic, towered building into a wondrous, experiential place that celebrates the joyful discovery of stories, the enhanced and accessible offering includes a story themed cafĂ© (called The Feastery), the Emporium of Stories (with Book Nook and the Apothecary to the Magical shop), function / theatre / banqueting space (known as Cliffhanger Castle), Grizelda’s Imaginarium and three different Writer’s Pad spaces to welcome schools, families and story lovers from across the region and beyond.

Deborah Bullivant, Founding Director of Grimm & Co said, “We are incredibly thrilled that Lumsden, with an impressive, world class portfolio including the likes of Kew Gardens, The National Gallery and Warner Bros. Studio Tour – The making of Harry Potter in both London & Tokyo, are bringing their expertise, vision and a touch of designer magic to capture our spirit and build our creative vision into a reality.

"Lumsden are listening, designing and transforming this beautiful space into an enchanting place full of awe and wonder, creating Grimm & Co’s Emporium of Stories, an exciting, creative, welcoming, inclusive space for everyone, offering an unusual, imaginative safe space for children, families and visitors of all ages to enjoy. The children and young people who the charity work with are excited to work with Lumsden and have been invaluable advisers to the design and transformation of this truly remarkable building.”

Lisa Pogson, Chair of the Board of Trustees added: “What an exciting milestone for this charity! Lumsden’s reassuring and extensive portfolio demonstrates an impressive array of projects that are functionally fabulous whilst being cutting edge and stunningly innovative. Our vision is in good hands.”

The £2.9m project has secured further funding from the Future High Streets Fund and the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority (in association with Rotherham Council), together with support from Key Fund, Northern Cultural Regeneration Fund, plus support from an anonymous local donor.

James Dwyer, Creative Director of Lumsden Design said “We are immensely proud to collaborate with Grimm & Co, supporting their incredible work inspiring young minds through the transformative power of storytelling. Working with Deborah and her team has been a joyous journey, and together Lumsden and Grimm & Co are creating a magical experience, blending Grimm’s captivating storytelling with enchanting interior design, to spark creativity, ignite imaginations, and help build brighter futures for young people."

Harry, one of Grimm & Co’s Young Leaders, added: “I really enjoyed working on Grizelda’s cabinet, being able to work on the new building was an awesome opportunity. I think Grimm will be a much more magical experience for newcomers, and I’m looking forward to having a look in the new building!”

Behind the scenes sneaky peeks are set to kickstart a crowdfunding campaign that enables businesses, individuals and communities to get involved and become part of the journey to help realise a piece of this history being made.

Grimm & Co website
Lumsden Design website

Images: Grimm & Co / Lumsden


Anonymous,  June 7, 2023 at 2:13 PM  

Great to see the repurposed for something useful that will hopefully bring a lot of joy to kids from Rotherham for years to come. It's a great thing for this town to have.

And it carries on the tradition of fantasy and fairy tales that the building was used for in the past.

Anonymous,  June 7, 2023 at 2:16 PM  

I wish I could be more enthusiastic about this project, but I can't.

The only thing magical about Grimm & Co is how they consistently seem to make public funds disappear to fund these self indulgent pet projects (and how the cretins in RMBC seem to allow it to happen).

It's tragic to see such a landmark building in the town centre to be desecrated like this.

I'm sure in a minority, but putting a children's centre directly opposite the town hall which is still up to its neck in CSE scandals, with more things still coming out about that time, sends out all the wrong messages.

I'm not suggesting that Grimm & Co don't do some good work, they do. But they're sailing very close to the wind. This project, along with their self-proclaimed children's capital of culture charade of self-promotion is sick, distasteful, and not what Rotherham needs.

Anonymous,  June 7, 2023 at 2:24 PM  

What a magical place. And what a fantastic facility for young people. I wish there had been a project like that years ago. Then some of the messages on here might even have made sense.

Anonymous,  June 7, 2023 at 10:19 PM  

Got to say...I agree with you!

Anonymous,  June 8, 2023 at 3:24 PM  

Well said!

Anonymous,  June 8, 2023 at 4:35 PM  

Grimm and Co do fantastic work and it excellent to see this investment.

Anonymous,  June 8, 2023 at 6:36 PM  

Why are some people so negative that you despair? It doesn't seem to matter what is reported they only look for opportunities to vent their self frustration by carping, nit picking and spouting claptrap.

Anonymous,  June 8, 2023 at 6:44 PM  

Great workers doing inspiring work. Keep it up and ignore the Jeremiahs.

Anonymous,  June 9, 2023 at 6:12 PM  

Ironic that people who cannot string two sentences together should attack a literacy project

Anonymous,  June 11, 2023 at 9:24 AM  

They should be grateful that their children will now be able to read the newspaper to them over breakfast.

Anonymous,  June 12, 2023 at 8:51 AM  

Not a lot of reading in the Sun though

Anonymous,  June 12, 2023 at 1:29 PM  

Not a lot of sun in Reading either

Anonymous,  June 13, 2023 at 4:50 PM  

Students at Grimm & Co are already over qualified to work as reporters for the Rotherham Advertiser and could do worse than act as proof readers for the more literary challenged message posters on RothBiz

Anonymous,  June 15, 2023 at 7:21 AM  

Whatever happened to the Dolly Parton reading initiative that provided Planning Department officials with a free Janet and Jim reading book every month for 5 years. I know that a lot of planning officers got great pleasure from looking at the pictures in these books during playtime.

Anonymous,  June 15, 2023 at 7:53 PM  

Oh, that's right I remember now. Wasn't it started by some comedian on the council who was a fan of Dolly's bookshelves?

Anonymous,  June 16, 2023 at 3:01 PM  

Spot on. I remember he only ever worked 9 to 5

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