"Anyone who has visited any of the 826 schools in the US has come away inspired, and it's always been a source of regret that London hasn't had an equivalent. I'm really happy that we are about to put that right. We want to give young East Londoners the confidence and opportunity to express themselves in writing, in whatever form they choose."
“Fighting Words in Dublin has been open seventeen months, and we have already hosted over 11,000 children at writing workshops. Everything so far has exceeded our most ambitious hopes, which were pretty high to begin with. The creativity, fun and buzz have been fantastic from the beginning, and I have no doubt that London will see a similar response once Lucy and Ben get the new Centre established. Build it and they will come.”
"As a kid I got a lot of help from after-school groups; I know how important they are to building confidence and nurturing a love of reading and writing outside of the often intimidating atmosphere of a busy urban classroom. If I could have also bought monster accessories at the same time as learning to put together a decent sentence...it would have been heaven."
"I can't wait for the opening of The Ministry of Stories Not only has my home city has long lacked a good monster supply shop, but also a place where young writers and would-be writers can find help and encouragement. I've visited 826 San Francisco and NYC, and seen the amazing work being done there. From the moment I walked through the door of the pirate shop in San Francisco, and saw that it was functioning as an after-school homework location, writing group, magazine production hub - and a place to pick up an eye-patch, I knew it was special. It's one thing to write, but another to see your work published, and The Ministry of Stories will provide that possibility, among others. I'm looking forward to volunteering at The Ministry of Stories new East London location. It's an area with an incredible amount of talent and energy - talent and energy which I suspect often goes to waste. From basic literacy to advanced creative projects, the 826 model has been shown to work all across the US. I hope writers, publishers and funders get behind this when it comes to London, because it's not just worthwhile, but excellent fun for everyone involved."
“Most writers in my experience belong to the distinct species of those on earth who wish to do good. No matter how small or large, to contribute to the greater good lies somewhere in their consciousness. The Ministry of Stories goes one further, it makes this desire explicit - away from all applause it will allow 'us' to introduce a young person to the love of our life- words- and with it, it's power to transform the personal, the political, to at least negotiate the heart and soul of every living thing.”
"I'm delighted to be an associate of The Ministry of Stories. I'll never forget my visit to the Superhero Supplies Store in Brooklyn. Stepping through the secret door in to the workshop area was magical. I'm very excited that London is going to have its own centre - young Londoners will have a fantastic opportunity available to them: a place to write whatever they want to, but with the support of talented, local volunteers and the prospect of seeing their work in print - their name at the top of the page - and the huge impact this can have."
Antonia Byatt, Director, Literature, Arts Council, England
“I am really delighted that the Arts Council is funding this project. Writing is at the heart of so much artistic production, from screenplays to song lyrics to pure poetry. Its crucial that young people can be passionate about writing at the same time as being challenged to write to the highest standards. It is brilliant that so many experienced writers are offering to work alongside the next generation to build their skills. There are not enough opportunities for young people to develop their writing outside school and this project is one that will create a place that can be a real inspiration for new writers -somewhere that will be full of their own energy and imagination."
Michelle, Year 4, St Monica’s RC Primary School
“The Ministry of Stories gave me the courage to write and read more. When I held the book in my hand it made me feel independent and older. The Ministry of Stories has encouraged me to read and write more. I created the name of the monster so I am very proud”
Kathleen O'Connor, Teaching and Learning Consultant – Literacy Hackney Learning Trust (working with Burbage 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’. Both the teachers and children have come back from their sessions incredibly enthused about writing. Independently, children have chosen to take their writing to the after-school open sessions. These are children who were very unmotivated by writing but now choose to write independently. Working with the Ministry seems to have unlocked creativity that sometimes the children didn't know they had. As one teacher remarked, 'I had no idea my class could write like that‘.
Chris Cox, volunteer mentor
“The most inspiring thing I realised was that sharing your skills with the Ministry is not just a one-way transaction. If it was, there wouldn’t be any magic in it. So it wasn’t just me teaching young people about journalism: their curiosity and creativity taught me something too.”