Plans to transform a 250-year-old Methodist church into an ‘apothecary for the magical’, which will act as the headquarters for local children’s literacy charity Grimm & Co, have been approved.
The plans for the £1.5m redevelopment of the Talbot Lane church in Rotherham town centre, which closed earlier this year due to dwindling congregation numbers, will enable Grimm & Co to expand its services having outgrown its existing space at Doncaster Gate in the town.
The gift shop from Grimm & Co’s current home will be recreated, alongside new facilities including a bookshop and cafe called ‘The Book and Broomstick’.
Three new classrooms will be constructed where the charity can expand their interactive story-telling sessions.
To protect the history of the building, the church’s historic organ and pulpit will be preserved, and some pews retained to form quirky classroom and cafe seating.
The renovations, designed by Ilkley-based architecture practice Halliday Clark, will allow Grimm & Co to increase its earned income, making the charity less reliant on public funds.
The larger space means that more under-resourced children across Yorkshire, Humberside and Derbyshire will benefit from Grimm & Co’s innovative storytelling and writing workshops, which are currently booked up until the end of the year.
Grimm & Co founder Deborah Bullivant said: “Halliday Clark have provided outstanding levels of support throughout this complex planning application process. We endeavour to be sympathetic to the fabric of the building whilst enabling the practicalities that our charity will need to make this a successful venture.”
Richard Walsh, director at Halliday Clark, added: “Talbot Lane Methodist church is a stunning building right in the heart of Rotherham town centre, and it would be a terrible shame if it were to go unused.” The charity will find out next month if it has been awarded a £499,000 grant from the Arts Council to kick-start the renovations.