IT’S all systems Grimm for Rotherham’s Talbot Lane Methodist Church after a bid for almost £500,000 was signed off by the Arts Council.
Grimm & Co have been granted £499,999 to buy the former church and start work on their £1.5 million plan to transform it into a story-telling and learning centre with cafe, bookshop and gift shop.
The literacy charity and “apothecary for the magical”, currently based at the bottom of Doncaster Gate, wants to transform the former place of worship into a place of learning and a “destination” for families.
A detailed planning application for a major revamp of the historic church - which closed in April due to falling numbers - was approved by Rotherham Borough Council in September, despite objections from Rotherham Civic Society, former parishioners and members of the Methodist community.
And trustees have now been given a major boost by the cash from Arts Council England, which will allow it to offer its currently-oversubscribed writing sessions to even more schools.
Chief executive and founder trustee Deborah Bullivant (below) said: “We are booked months in advance for our storymaking sessions, and at the moment, we cannot meet that demand.
“This magnificent building will allow us to deliver workshops to three school classes at a time, with far more scope to reach children and young people across the county and beyond.
“These are very exciting times.”
Rotherham Council leader Cllr Chris Read said: “Grimm & Co provides a wonderful environment to nurture the imaginations and the writing skills of children in the heart of Rotherham, helping to grow the hearts and minds of our young people.
“This investment will make a massive difference to a much-loved and well renowned Rotherham institution.”
Arts Council England is the national development body for arts and culture across England and supports a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries - from theatre to visual arts, reading to dance, music to literature and crafts to collections.
Between 2018 and 2022, it plans to invest £1.45 billion of public money from government and an estimated £860 million from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country. Visit www.artscouncil.org.uk for more details.