Minister of the Month – Saskia Bennett
Meet the wonderfully patient Saskia, our Minister of the Month for October. Saskia is a diligent writing mentor who loves working with both children and words – a natural fit for the Ministry!
Name: Saskia Bennett
Volunteer role: Writing Mentor
Hail from: Finsbury Park
Favourite story and why:
I have loads, of course, but am very fond of The Elves and The Shoemaker Ladybird Book because I so loved the idea of the tiny clothes made by the shoemaker for the elves and he reminded me of my Grandad who was a tailor. It’s also a great story about kindness and helping each other out.
Tell us a little bit about yourself:
I used to work for Film Four looking at scripts and working with grown up writers, but was made redundant just as I was starting a family so I chose to spend time with them instead of trying to get back into the film industry. I used to do lots of things with their primary school and enjoyed working with groups of children.
Why did you decide to volunteer with Ministry of Stories?
My daughter did a Storymaking Workshop with the Ministry back in 2010 when they’d just started, and she and her class loved it. I thought it was doing a great thing, so when my children got a bit older I missed working with groups of kids and remembered how much fun my daughter’s class had had at the Ministry. I looked into it and thought it was a great opportunity to work with children and words – a great combination for me.
Were you nervous about anything before starting?
A little nervous that I might not be able to really help the children to unleash their imaginations enough but I didn’t need to worry about that, they don’t really need my help!
What has been the best experience of volunteering?
There are lots of moments, but one of my earliest and most memorable experiences was on a Storymaking Workshop when I ended up working one-on-one with a non-verbal child who came up with a super story – the look of delight and pride on his face when he got his book with his name on was so rewarding.
What has been the most unexpected thing about volunteering?
That the Ministry is such a safe and special place for the children.
Has volunteering changed anything in your life?
Yes, I think it’s taught me to be a bit more patient and it’s great to have that undistracted time to concentrate on one thing rather than dashing around and doing three things at once.
Describe the Ministry of Stories in three words:
Inspiring, empowering, silly
What would you say to other people thinking of volunteering with the Ministry?
Definitely do it – it’s fun, the other volunteers are great and it’s so worthwhile.