The Ministry Needs You!
It's been nearly two years since we helped to set them up, and since then the Ministry has provided thousands of local kids with free one-to-one writing mentoring and group workshops, all thanks to the work of an incredible team of volunteers, and to the fantastic co-directors Lucy Macnab and Ben Payne.
Last year we were nominated for a D&AD Award (in the Writing for Design category) for our work on it (if you're a D&AD member, you can read the case study of the project on their website); and Alistair has recently been nominated for the Volunteer of the Year Award at the 2012 Social Enterprise Awards which take place next month.
We've carried on creating new products for Hoxton Street Monster Supplies, so you can now get a whole new set of Tinned Fear, jars of Moonlight (for Werewolves) and Sunlight (for vampires with S.A.D.), bars of Impacted Earwax, as well as Banshee Balls and Bah! Humbugs. Not to mention the Fairy Dust (made from real fairies), and Near Rings, which warn you of nearby peril. You can buy all of it at the shop, a lot of it at the Monster Supplies website, and now also get some bits at Harvey Nichols stores around the country.
(We've got some other brilliant collaborations in the works, which will be launching over the next few weeks, and we'll tell you about them mighty soon.)
Design is a huge part of the way the Ministry and the shop work.
Aside from all the products, they also publish collections of the kids' writing, such as the Awfully Bad Guide to Monster Housekeeping (designed by Ed Cornish)...
... as well as a regular newspaper, Hoxton A.M., also written by the kids (designed by Alex Parrott).
So, it's been a busy two years.
Over that time, the Ministry has had lots of requests from people around the UK eager to open up their own Ministries, with their own accompanying shops.
And the Ministry has now officially opened applications for people wanting to do just that.
So if you're a designer, or work at a design group, somewhere in the UK (outside of London*), and would be interested in helping to set up a Ministry in your area, now's your chance. It takes quite a bit of work, but it's ridiculously rewarding, and we'd recommend doing it in a heartbeat. Quite what forms your versions of the Ministry and the shop take is entirely down to you. (You might want to take a look at the 826 project, and its associated stores, which was of course our inspiration to begin with.)
The application process is quite hefty, and there's quite a long lead time before you become an actual Ministry, but that means that there's plenty of time to come up with some truly brilliant ideas. You might already know educators / writers / volunteers in your local area, but if not, get in touch with the Ministry, and if there are other people thinking about setting something up near you, they can pass your details on.
Any questions, stick them in the comments section below, and we'll do our best to answer them.
*If you are a designer in London, and would like to help out with the stuff we're doing, just give us a shout. We can always do with more help!