A new chapter is beginning for the Rainbow Factory Creative Arts Play Centre in Leeds.
The storytelling wonderland, which is still only 18 months old, is expanding into a neighbouring unit of the refurbished former textile mill in Farsley.
The additional space will take its total floor plan to around 7,500 sq ft.
The new area – the Rainbow Rooms - will be unveiled on December 3 and 4 at the venue’s Enchanted Christmas Market, which is set to attract hundreds of visitors.
The Rainbow Factory was set up with the social objective of inspiring future generations with a love of reading – and helping to raise literacy levels - by bringing stories to life through theatre, music and craft.
Since opening its doors to the public on June 6, 2015, it has welcomed tens of thousands of children, families and teachers through its doors.
Now, with the addition of a further 2,500 sq ft, its creators hope to share their unique project with thousands more visitors of all ages – helping them to explore new ways of storytelling, using their imagination and learning through play.
The expansion will enable them to provide more school trips – for children aged 4 to 14; more training sessions for teachers; and more of their increasingly popular classes for babies, toddlers and preschoolers.
The business will also be working with the likes of the award-winning Baby Sensory, which will be running regular classes at the factory, and there will be opportunities for other similar partnerships.
Rainbow Factory Executive Directors Hazel Merlino and Sarah Underwood said: “We’re very proud of everything the Rainbow Factory has achieved in such a short space of time – in particular making a difference to so many young lives.
“Our new baby and toddler-focused sessions have helped us to reach out to even more children – at a crucial stage of their development – as well as providing opportunities for parents and carers to develop a new support network.
“We hope that with the creation of this new area we can take a step closer to becoming a real social hub for local families.”
The Rainbow Factory has created around 24 part-time and several permanent jobs and has been shortlisted for two awards in the past year:
Best Place for Children and Young People in the Child Friendly Leeds Awards 2016
Best Live Experience at the Leeds Lifestyle Awards 2016.
The Rainbow Rooms will consist of four themed areas, designed by Rainbow Factory Creative Director Richard Underwood.