Local charity, Grimm & Co, are celebrating today after being awarded over £280,000 in National Lottery funding to support its work with volunteers and families across Yorkshire. The charity, based on Ship Hill in Rotherham, will use the cash to support and train volunteers, improving their skills, wellbeing and reducing isolation. This fund will enable Grimm & Co to expand their work with children and young people to include creative activities for families and care givers to help develop children’s communication skills through the joyful discovery of stories. The final strand of this project will take Grimm & Co’s unique and magical offer into communities and groups across Rotherham and beyond through artistic story taster activities that champion culture and creativity within communities. Grimm & Co 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. The charity has been running since 2014 and has recently moved to new premises in order to meet the high demand and to expand its reach across communities in South Yorkshire and beyond.
The charity currently runs a variety of out of school activities for seven to 18 years, both digitally and face-to-face, as well as providing online activities throughout the pandemic. They have recently returned to creative delivery with schools, in storymaking workshops and with new immersive theatre spaces such as the ‘Everywherium’. Grimm & Co are supporting the next generation to see themselves as writers, building confidence and skills with a ‘can do, want to do’ attitude, developing the capacity to use writing as a tool for resilience and helping young people to find their voices.
The new funding from The National Lottery Community Fund, which distributes money raised by National Lottery players for good causes and is the largest funder of community activity in the UK, will see an expansion of these activities, enabling them to work with younger children and families, addressing communication issues and low literacy levels at an earlier stage. As a result of the funding, Grimm & Co are excited to be recruiting for three new staff members to take this project forward, and more details of these exciting vacancies are available on their website, www.grimmandco.co.uk/jobs.
Grimm & Co will be consulting with the communities across Rotherham as part of their programmes and this consultation, specifically focused on ‘making welcome’ and ‘being relevant to communities’, will inform and influence the capital project fit out and space of Grimm & Co’s newly refurbished Emporium of Stories in the heart of Rotherham Town Centre. Grimm and Co want themselves and this project to dispel negative perceptions of Rotherham and its residents, challenging community narratives and apathy that many Rotherham residents feel about their town and give them a reason to be really proud, invested and engaged in the place they call home.
A volunteer from Grimm & Co stated: “Working creatively with the young people and their families is such a reward and to see their genuine overwhelming positive responses is so life affirming and such a reassurance that the “Grimm way” can have so many benefits for their mental heath and academic achievements. Being in Rotherham is also incredibly important to give its residents a chance that they probably can’t find anywhere else in their community.”
Sarah Dunwell, chair of Grimm & Co says: “Volunteers are Grimm & Co’s life blood. We are thrilled to be able to take our work to the next level, thanks to the National Lottery Community fund. After a very strange (yet hectic for us) 18 months, we can’t wait to get started”.
Deborah Bullivant, founding director of Grimm & Co, says: “We’re delighted that The National Lottery Community Fund has recognised our work in this way and supported this project to take place over the next three years. Now, thanks to National Lottery players we will be able to reach children and young people when they are younger through exciting story activities and we will be able to connect with a variety of community groups, celebrating their stories and making new ones”.