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Literature | Rotherham

Grimm & Co

Grimm & Co is a literacy charity based in Yorkshire, who aim to support children and young people to discover creativity and imagination through projects that spark motivation to write.

In 2009-2011, to combat the town’s education gaps for marginalised children and young people, Rotherham council submitted a proposal to study the effect of creative literacy approaches on SATS results at the end of primary school. Deborah Bullivant led the action research programme, undertaken with Sheffield University, which led her to found Grimm & Co after commissioning targeted arts-based cultural activities.  Programmes and activities were trialed across all schools in Rotherham and directly in communities where, within a year, for those children from the 10% of most socio-economically impoverished areas of the town, boys’ SATS results had improved by 11%. Among children with English as an additional language, results for reading and writing were 22% higher.  These results were unprecedented.

Grimm & Co

Grimm and Co

Grimm & Co

Grimm and Co

Target Beneficiaries

Grimm & Co serves under-resourced children and young people aged 0 to 18, initially in Yorkshire, from every background.

The charity is supporting the next generation to see themselves as writers, building confidence and skills with a ‘can do, want to do’ attitude. Grimm & Co are developing children’s capacity to develop their literacy repertoire, use writing as a tool for resilience, help young people to find their voices and imagine a positive literacy narrative for themselves.

More recently, demand has increased for Grimm & Co to work with those who have an influence on children and young people to discover the joy of stories as a tool for the development of early and emergent literacies in children and young people from birth through to school.  Grimm & Co now also delivers story activities for families, carers and those working with children in care.

The charity aims to challenge expectations and aspirations, nurturing development, teaching skills and nourishing imaginations.


Grimm & Co run innovative, creative writing activities with one to one support and mentoring, providing narrative sponsors who help young people discover their potential.

The child-led approach aims to build participants’ literacy and creativity skills, confidence, capacity and self-belief. They place the child and young person at the centre of it all, as experts, valuing the funds of knowledge they bring with them, journeying forth into creative, unchartered territories.

School groups come and enjoy creative, imaginative happenings that lead to the joyful discovery of writing for pleasure. They hosted three half day school storymaking workshops a week pre-Covid at their venue, in 2021 these have been delivered digitally, then as short residencies in schools instead of on site.

All school and holiday programmes are completely free to the user.

Currently, 38% of the children and young people supported by Grimm & Co are from communities listed 1-3 on the Index of Multiple Deprivation.  The charity has also trail blazed a Creative Mentoring programme for 30 young people in care, and at risk of exclusion.  Prior to, and through the pandemic, Grimm & Co has worked with children and young people in partnership with Barnardo’s and local hospices. 30% of children and young people on programmes through 2020/21 had disclosed additionalities.

The charity also offers CPD workshops on site as well as online writing resources and interactive activities.



In the academic year 2019-2020 Grimm & Co has worked with 5,282 children and young people from schools and 191 in out of school provision A further 350 children and young people were reached through the informal/family learning activities and a further 3,200 family members at festivals and outreach events. Demand continues to grow – from schools and in the out of school provision – so as construction and fit out works take place at Grimm & Co’s newly purchased Emporium, the charity has secured a huge pop up retail mall space in the town centre to increase delivery and prepare for moving into the newly refurbished, world class story emporium: a feastery, book nook, apothecary, market place and arts based destination.

Schools Provision:




In school residency:







Out of school provision moved across to digital delivery as Covid-19 started to affect plans for the charity, prior to the national lockdown. The provision continued to take place digitally using safe and secure platforms and retention remained high at over 92% for out of school provision during this time.

Guardian article featuring Grimm & Co.

Next steps:

Due to Covid-19, the charity has quickly developed a quality digital learning platform that ensured high retention of the users within this programme and provides the ability to undertake blended learning, embracing opportunities through technology. Grimm & Co raised funds and purchased a trailer to ensure they could operate either the shop or the arts/learning provision from a theatrical platform. Recently, they have also built an interactive theatre, ‘The Everywhereium’, enabling residencies in schools and pop up facilities in community settings.  This switch to a more portable delivery model means Grimm & Co can undertake outreach programmes with a stronger presence that captures the essence of the venue and allows the company to engage communities closer to where they live and to take this option into schools, community centres, other agencies.  This also enables them to consult further with their communities to ensure a consistency of relevance, inclusivity, accessibility and diversity.


After participating in 6 months of Grimm’s summer club [my daughter] improved in her Year 6 school report which described her effort as Excellent and both reading and writing attainment as Greater Depth. These are the top scores available and is a marked improvement in 12 months, particularly in an area she has not always enjoyed. She went on to secure 120/120 in her English SATS (scaled score) which was far better than we or she expected. We believe that Grimm has ignited a spark in [her] to enjoy both reading and writing, which can be seen in the English work she produces and more widely in the person she is becoming.

Feedback from a parent about his daughter's progress since coming to workshops with Grimm & Co


Arts Council England NPO, Rotherham Borough Council, Esmee Fairbairn Foundation. Sigrid Rausing Trust, Tudor Trust, Children in Need, National Lottery Community Fund, Paul Hamlyn Foundation, EU Development Fund.