The Reader Organisation and Squash Nutrition have between them secured over £750,000 in funding to develop two innovative and inspiring projects – The Story Barn and Toxteth Food Central (TFC).
The Reader Organisation’s funds will transform the Grade 2 listed Barn and stable area of Calderstones Mansion within Calderstones Park into an interactive Story Barn, bringing literature to life and encouraging reading for pleasure amongst young people and the wider community within the heart of Calderstones.
The building will also host the very best exhibitions from children’s authors and illustrators in its changeable exhibition room whilst a permanent interactive space will allow visitors to explore, play and interact with literary adventures. These spaces will also be available to hire for celebrations whilst hosting ongoing events and festivals from The Reader Organisation. Families will be able to purchase the latest and greatest in children’s stories from the children’s bookshop, whilst also being able to pick up interactive maps helping families explore the surrounding parklands on bug hunts and environmental trails.
Managing Director for The Reader Organisation, Chris Catterall said: “We really hope this building will become an exciting and vital place to both play and learn for the wider community and beyond. Opening up literary doors to families and young people of all ages, from those attending our tiny reads sessions for under 5’s to young adults exploring the latest artistic installations for much loved literature. We think the Story Barn will be an important cornerstone in our wider vision for Calderstones Mansion House as part of the ongoing journey toward becoming an International Centre for Reading.”
The Social Investment Business grant will enable Squash Nutrition to purchase and develop derelict land in Toxteth and transform it into an eco-building and integrated food garden. Toxteth Food Central will be home to an urban food shop and community cafe and will deliver exciting food services, training and events. Founded in an ethos of community cohesion and positive social impact, Toxteth Food Central will support food learning, promote good food culture, and share increased opportunities for health and wellbeing.
Local residents and members of the TFC Community Design team Linda Daley and Mo Harris said ‘We’re really excited about TFC – our chance to turn a wasteland in to something really positive – a tremendous food growing and cooking resource for the whole community!’
Caroline Forster, Director of Investments at the Social Investment Business said: “We are proud to have backed some of England’s most inspired community enterprises transform local buildings and assets to deliver social and economic benefits in their communities. This fund has demonstrated how entrepreneurial our communities can be with a little targeted support at the right time and will inspire many others to follow in their steps and play a greater part helping their communities flourish.”