Minister of Ministers

Posted by theministry on 27th April 2016

We give Volunteer Coordinator Rich a grilling, before saying a final auf Wiedersehen as he heads off into the sunset for Berlin.

Rich Catty (photo: Tom Oldham)

Rich Catty (photo: Tom Oldham)


Name: Rich Catty

Role: Volunteer Coordinator

Resident: Hackney soon to be Berlin

Favorite story:

John Fante, Ask the Dust. It’s about a couple who hate each other and love each other, very tempestuous. It’s quite tragic but really funny and gritty too.

Tell us a little bit about yourself:

My name is Rich and I’m from Liverpool. I used to work in banking, yuk. Then I decided to do something amazing and work for the Ministry of Stories. I like reading, writing, rock climbing and making use of things I find in the street. Once, when I was in India, I was an extra in a Bollywood movie. The work has dried up since I left.

How did you hear about the Ministry?

A friend’s housemate told me about the Ministry – she’s actually a craftivist – as she knew I was interested in literature. I really enjoyed reading and writing when I was younger, but lost touch with it for years. Then when I was 23, I picked-up books again. I fell in love with reading and didn’t really stop. I also started to write and realised it was something I really cared about.

Tell us about your volunteering:

When I first visited the shop – the Ministry is hidden behind Hoxton Street Monster Supplies – I knew it was something I wanted to be involved with. Being somewhere that was creative, imaginative and fun was really inspiring.

I started our volunteering as a shopkeeper and then, after about four months, started mentoring as well. I use to have such a buzz afterwards, I often found it hard to contain my excitement. For the first time I felt like I was doing something that had some value to it and I also enjoyed.

What was your best experience of volunteering?

It was great to see the children responding to your mentoring. I naturally gravitated towards the kids that struggled to focus and there were several occasions I helped them to concentrate and they came-up with some really good stories, which became some of my favorite experiences.

I was really surprised when Ben, one of the Co-directors, said at an event to speak to me about volunteering, which I didn’t know would happen. It made me realise they valued the time I gave and that they trusted me. That was a really nice moment.

Then you became our Volunteer Coordinator?

Yes, I was really keen to work for the Ministry. I volunteered in the shop and mentored and was just inquisitive all the time. Before my interview I just asked lots of questions and thankfully I got it. It was great to be in such a creative environment and be able to follow through on creative projects.

Describe the Ministry of Stories in three words:

Educational, daring and vibrant

Captain Sock or Tim Can?

Tim Can, definitely. He gets recycled a lot, and I like the idea of his reincarnation and the adventures we’d have as different types of tins.

What would you say to other people thinking of volunteering?

Do it. Don’t think about it as working for free, think about it as enriching yours and others lives.


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