Deep inside his literacy lair, Graham Grimm has been brewing up a plan with his team of elves, conjuring up a spell to cast upon the unsuspecting mortals at Arts Council England.
You see, since making his Apothecary to the Magical, Grimm & Co., visible to humans in 2016, his curses, cures and curiosities have captivated so many people that Grimm needs to upsize his modest medicinal establishment currently located on Doncaster Gate in Rotherham.
He’s had his eye on a 250-year-old Methodist church within spitting distance but all he has for currency is magic beans – and that just won’t do. He heard on the beanstalk that the Arts Council were looking to invest some of that there human money to enrich people’s lives; does that count for magical beings, too?
Fortunately for Graham – and the Arts Council staff – he didn’t need to use a hex. They were charmed by his plans and have awarded Grimm & Co. with almost half a million pounds for which to use towards fulfilling his utopian dream.
The bulk of this cash will allow literacy charity, Grimm & Co, to purchase the Grade II listed Talbot Lane Methodist Church which closed its ecclesiastical doors in April due to low congregation numbers.
Now, £1.5million plans have been approved to transform the building into a magical bolthole for storytelling and potion brewing, keeping all the well-loved aspects of Grimm & Co at heart with a few exciting new additions.
Since opening, Grimm & Co has been changing lives one story at a time, inspiring children to open their imaginations through their popular story making sessions. However, these are booked up until the end of the year and their current workshop space simply cannot meet the demand from local schools.
The new site will have three classrooms meaning three school classes can take part at the same time, helping to engage more children across Yorkshire.
More space means the Grimm team can also work on their plans to open up their story centre to more people in the community, from tiny sproglets to the more ancient. They are also keen to launch a wizarding school for those who possess supernatural powers.
The magical gift shop and beanstalk slide will be transported to the new site and the offering for human families will be expanded by the opening of an independent bookstore and a café, The Book and Broomstick, which will cater for both magical and mortal beings.
But these plans can’t be created at the flick of a wand; the building needs to be sensitively transformed to preserve its history and heritage.
Grimm & Co. are currently working with architects, Halliday and Clarke, to add a first floor, lifts, and create a large performance space. The roof also needs extensive repairs before any interior development can take place.
The plans are astounding and a stupendous achievement for Rotherham, but Graham and his team need all the help they can get if their fairytale is to become reality.
This festive season, you can help by visiting the current magical store or shopping on the World Wide Wonder Web to stock up on your potion ingredients. You can find eternal ugliness bath crystals, human phlegm soap and even a giant belly button cleaner.
For more information about Grimm & Co. or to visit the online shop, see their website. grimmandco.co.uk/