Ministry of Stories is a creative writing and mentoring centre for young people in east London.
It uses storytelling to inspire young people aged 8-18, in the belief that writing unleashes their imaginations and builds confidence, self-respect and communication skills. To find it, you’ll need to go through Hoxton Street Monster Supplies, Purveyor of Quality Goods for Monsters of Every Kind…
Volunteers are the lifeblood of the Ministry of Stories, they give their time as volunteer shopkeepers for Monster Supplies, writing mentors to work with young people, and help behind the scenes with admin, fundraising, marketing and maintenance.
Nick Hornby, Lucy Macnab and Ben Payne founded the Ministry of Stories in 2010. In its first 18 months, it engaged over 1,000 volunteers, worked with over 5,000 local children and young people to produce writing of all forms, and attracted donations from more than 1,000 individuals.
The Ministry of Stories is now looking to build on its strong beginnings in London, with a focus on expanding the concept nationally and digitally.
Online versions of the Ministry of Stories are being piloted to explore how best the organisation can meaningfully replicate its face-to-face work online, allowing for digital forms of mentoring that can enable children who don’t live within the catchment zones of the bricks-and-mortar Ministries to benefit from their work.
Meanwhile, the organisation is working with a handful of associate projects with the aim of identifying strong candidates to open new pilot chapters of the initiative. Ultimately, the team wants to see a Ministry of Stories in every community that can support one.
Ministry of Stories was awarded £45,000 in the second round of the fund to support two to three test projects and find ways to share its methods and creative approach more broadly, increasing its access to new giving potential – both through time given and financial support.
“The Ministry of Stories gave me the courage to read and write more. When I held the book in my hand it made me feel independent and older.”
Michelle, year 4, St Monica’s RC Primary School
“Working with the Ministry of Stories has been a wonderful experience for the children of our school. As one child remarked, ‘When I’m at the Ministry my imagination is set free’. These are children who were very unmotivated by writing but now choose to write independently. Working at the Ministry seems to have unlocked creativity that sometimes the children didn’t know they had.”
Kathleen O’Connor, Teaching & Learning Consultant – Literacy, Hackney Learning Trust