June 20 2013 Latest news:
Emma Bartholomew, Senior Reporter
Tuesday, July 3, 2012
Best-selling author Nick Hornby helped launch the newly created Children’s Republic of Shoreditch today, complete with constitution, manifesto and national anthem.
The unique project celebrating children's imaginations, will see a group of 8-13 year olds taking control of an independent state run from their own Embassy building in Hoxton Street.
It is the most ambitious project to date from the Ministry of Stories, whose base is just down the road.
The charity was co-founded by Fever Pitch writer Hornby two years ago to deliver free writing workshops and mentoring programmes.
The idea came about through The Ministry's work with children over the last year, encouraging them to write, talk and think about how life would be different for them if they were in charge, and what they would like to change.
Ministers have been already been appointed for education, art and theme parks, and the Republic's Civil Service has created its own laws and customs.
The Embassy will now be open to the public for two months, and visitors will be able to apply for citizenship and receive an official passport after passing through strict immigration control.
They will be able to use a Postal Service where letters are delivered by helium balloon, request responses from the Children's Advice Bureau and visit the Museum of Childhood Treasures.
There will be the opportunity to undertake secret missions in the Republic, specially designed by its spy network known as SANT (Secret Agents Never Tell).
Author Dave Eggers, who founded the 826 movement in the US, which inspired Hornby, Lucy Macnab and Ben Payne to found the Ministry of Stories, said the Republic was his favourite idea of theirs to date.
"Imagine what a project like that would mean to an eight-year-old, imagine the explosive growth this will catalyze in their imaginations," he said.
"Kids need adults to set an example for them, to create spaces where their most un-tethered ideas are given respect and amplification, and the Ministry of Stories has done that again and again."
The youngsters have already entered into correspondence with Prime Minister David Cameron to initiate good diplomatic relations between the two nations, who praised their imagination.