Minister of the Month – Bux Bailey
Name: Bux (pronounced Boo) Bailey
Volunteer roles: Writing Mentor, Writing Workshop Deputy and Expert Volunteer at induction training.
Lives: Tower Hamlets
Favourite story and why:
Lumme! This is harder than desert island discs. So, several scrapped mental lists later, I will have to plump for The Worst Journey in the World by Apsley Cherry-Garrard. Because reading it transports you to a bygone place and time whilst often reminding you how lucky you are not to be there. Because it is historical, biographical ( he was a member of Captain Scott’s final Antarctic expedition) , philosophical ( it concludes – spoiler alert- ‘you will have your reward, so long as all you want is a penguin’s egg’ ) and very very funny. You wish you’d met those eccentric explorers who faced down extreme physical and mental adversity with dry humour and the will power to save their ration of one boiled sweet for Christmas .
Tell us a little bit about yourself:
I’m double-jointed. And trying to be concise to contra the waffle above.
Why did you decide to volunteer with Ministry of Stories?
I knew about 826 Valencia in California where I’d earlier studied ( last century!) so when I read an article about the Ministry of Stories being set up AND virtually on my doorstep, it was a sign! Plus the concept of the Hoxton Street Monster Supplies and the design of its products is genius. Who wouldn’t want to be part of that?
Were you nervous about anything before starting?
Stupidly, no! Until the excellent induction day that is, when it dawned on me that my personal experience of bringing up a child, managing school runs and birthday parties might not suffice? But the training was so comprehensive and encouraging, it really helped. And I still consult my tea-stained manual from time to time. My favourite part is about not correcting spelling and grammar! I have wholeheartedly embraced that.
What has been the best experience of volunteering?
Without a doubt, the amazing kids, their energy and just incredible imaginations. And at each workshop, watching the magic unfold , making up stories about the mysterious chief, and seeing how much creativity is unleashed in that space. The fund raising events are also great fun; as an atheist, it has given me something to believe in and preach about!
What has been the most unexpected thing about volunteering?
The surprisingly joyous effect the above has had on me. I have been literally amazed and slightly overwhelmed by witnessing the transformations in the children that walk through the secret door in the monster shop. Most recently, one very quiet child’s character was voted for by the class and his reaction was one of such pure shock and joy – I’ve never seen a whole face smile like that. At the end of the session we learnt that at school that pupil is normally an elective mute.
Has volunteering changed anything in your life?
I’ve started reading novels again. After years working in the commercial sector in fashion sales and marketing, I am now considering a course in counselling skills with children using the arts . So yes! Quite a lot.
Describe the Ministry of Stories in three words:
Again. Far too hard. So I am going to borrow a word the kids have taught me. It’s totally Yeet! (apologies)
What would you say to other people thinking of volunteering with the Ministry?
Just. Do. It. It will challenge and inspire you. You will meet and learn from incredible individuals and become part of a wonderful and diverse team. And most of all, you will definitely have a good laugh and feel better about the world around you.