Minister of the Month – Alice Penfold

Posted by theministry on 11th February 2020

Meet the wonderful Alice, our Minister of the Month for February. Lured by the marvellously mad magic of the Ministry, Alice has been a writing mentor with us for six years and counting…

Volunteer role: Saturday mentor, Ghost-writer and Ministry social compere!

Hail from: The rural depths of Somerset

Favourite story and why: I love A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness – it is the most moving fantasy story and the monster at its heart is far more than an ordinary monster…

Tell us a little bit about yourself:

I am a secondary school English teacher, with a love of reading and running, writing and word play, and enjoying all the fantastic opportunities that living in London offers!

Why did you decide to volunteer with Ministry of Stories?

I’ve been volunteering with the Ministry for six years now! I first joined up when I became a teacher and wanted to keep working with young children in a more relaxed setting than the classroom, being free from marking and assessments and continuing to share a love of creativity.

Were you nervous about anything before starting?

The Chief, of course!

What has been the best experience of volunteering?

The people that I’ve met, for sure. The children – they are full of amazing ideas that never fail to inspire me. The Ministry team and other volunteers – there is nowhere else that feels as inclusive and friendly as the Ministry, where it is totally okay – and encouraged – that everyone can be their own bonkers, brilliant selves.

What has been the most unexpected thing about volunteering?

Staying so long! I joined the Ministry so many years ago now and hope that it continues to be an important part of my life.

Has volunteering changed anything in your life?

It has made me more confident in calling myself a writer – and it has also made me advocate even more the power of creative writing to express all sorts of ideas and emotions.

Describe the Ministry of Stories in three words:

Magic. Marvellous. Mad.

What would you say to other people thinking of volunteering with the Ministry?

Do it! There isn’t a single reason not to – you can do the volunteer shifts that fit into your own schedule and I firmly believe that any individual who becomes part of the Ministry won’t ever be the same again!

NEXT PAGE: Minister of the Month - Lina Šuplinska