We're Making A Difference

by the numbers

Since opening our doors in July 2012 the Sydney Story Factory has taken over 8,000 student enrolments. That includes the literally hundreds of young people who discover such a love of writing within the walls of the Martian Embassy that they just keep coming back.

Of these, 24% are Indigenous and 37% are from language backgrounds other than English. Almost all of the remainder come from lower socioeconomic or disadvantaged backgrounds. We also work with many young people who are marginalised in other ways - with support needs or chronic illness, through homelessness, and LGBTIQ.

In 2015-16 alone, our fourth year of operation, we delivered a whopping 12,055 student workshop hours, with an average of 4.17 hours of tuition per student.


It's not many non-profits that can boast confidently that their annual report is definitely NOT boring. But we do.

Our Annual Report for 2015-16 includes Cath Keenan's Australia Day address, original poems and stories  by students, case studies that speak volumes about how our programs are changing lives, and a collection of facts and stats that will have you gripped (just how many pencils do you think were sharpened on Thursday afternoons in the course of a year, after they'd been blunted by enthusiastic young writers?). It's also packed with quotes from parents and teachers and community workers and volunteers who are seeing first-hand the impacts of our programs in the lives of the young people they care for.

Read the Sydney Story Factory Annual Report 2015-16 HERE.


proving our impact

We have been committed, since inception, to conducting a rigorous, long-term evaluation of the benefits of our programs for young people. A formal evaluation commenced in early 2014 and is being undertaken by Associate Professor Jackie Manuel and Honorary Associate Professor David Smith at the Faculty of Education and Social Work, University of Sydney, under the direction of Professor Robyn Ewing, AM.

Over time this evaluation, using a qualitative case-study model, is investigating the impact of our creative writing workshops in four main areas:

  • writing skills;
  • self-confidence;
  • motivation to write;
  • perceived impact on school work.

The study breaks new ground in the evaluation of complex social and emotional outcomes from arts programs. It tracks changes in students’ creativity, and develops a model of creativity based on five central dimensions:

  • Imagination
  • Collaboration
  • Persistence
  • Inquisitiveness
  • Discipline

Preliminary results from the evaluation were published in February 2015. A rich and complex picture emerged of the many educational, social and emotional benefits of attending Sydney Story Factory programs. The final report will be available in early 2017.

Read the preliminary evaluation report HERE.


In January 2016, executive director and co-founder Cath Keenan was honoured to be named 2016 Australian of the Year Local Hero. The award is fitting recognition for Cath and everyone involved with the Sydney Story Factory who have worked so hard to make a real difference in the lives of marginalised Australian children and young people. We couldn't be prouder.

In August 2015 the Sydney Story Factory was selected as a finalist in the prestigious Macquarie Australian Social Innovation Award. The award recognises, promotes and rewards new ideas that work to meet pressing community social needs, alleviate disadvantage and promote social inclusion.