Grimm & Co is a terrific new literacy project in Rotherham, of which I’m delighted to be a patron. (Visit their website here)
On a street corner in Rotherham, a rather beautiful old pub has been converted into a magical apothecary’s shop, selling all kinds of wonderful artefacts, phials and potions, from Extract of Genius to Tinned Beard, Goblin Mucus, wands of all different kinds, Knight Peelers, Middle-Aged Vitriol and giant feather dusters for cleaning giants’ bellybuttons.
But Grimm & Co isn’t just an ordinary magical apothecary. Sponsored by the Ministry of Stories, it’s also a story workshop, accessible via a hidden door in the back of the shop. Here, children of all backgrounds enter the Imagination Gym, then climb up the secret Story Stairs to the top floor, where all the resources of Grimm & Co are available to them. Here there are costumes and characters; storytelling workshops; everything a young person needs to help them unleash their own magic.
Sometimes visiting authors come to answer questions, read stories (and avail themselves of the apothecary’s magical supplies).
Sometimes groups of schoolchildren come in with their teachers, to collaborate in writing their own little books, printed and illustrated for them to take home and show their parents.
Even the exit is magical…
Best of all, this is a charity, run by volunteers of all kinds to help improve literacy, engage young imaginations and explore the countless possibilities of reading and writing stories. And you can help; either by visiting the shop (all money from the magical supplies goes straight into the charity), or by volunteering (I’ve done it: it’s fun!) or by donating (learn more here).
Language helps us communicate with the people around us. But literacy gives us the means to communicate with the whole world, to travel in time, and to learn from the greatest minds the world has known – which is why Grimm & Co and their counterparts are performing the greatest magic of all: bringing the gift of literacy, helping our children to save the world, one story at a time.