We're Making A Difference

by the numbers

In the five years since opening our doors in July 2012, the Sydney Story Factory has taken over 10,880 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, 25% are Indigenous and 39% 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 2016-17 alone we delivered a whopping 13,705 student workshop hours, with an average of 4.14 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 2016-17 includes introductions to students who will tell you themselves about how our programs are changing their lives, original poems and stories, and a collection of facts and stats that will have you gripped (can you guess how many wings, beaks, tails and feathered torsos we cut from paper this year for Robot Bird Poetry workshops?). 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 2016-17 HERE.

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

proving our impact

Since inception, the Sydney Story Factory (SSF) has been committed to conducting a rigorous, long-term evaluation of the benefits of our programs for young people.

A three-year evaluation conducted between 2014-2016 by Associate Professor Jackie Manuel and Dr David Smith from the Faculty of Education and Social Work at the University of Sydney under the direction of Professor Robyn Ewing AM, investigated the impact of long- term participation in SSF creative writing workshops in the following areas:

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

The study broke new ground in the evaluation of complex social and emotional outcomes from arts programs, in particular because of the focus on the central importance of fostering children’s creativity. The study developed a model of creativity based on the following five central dimensions:

  • Imagination
  • Collaboration
  • Persistence
  • Inquisitiveness
  • Discipline

By tracking changes in these five dimensions the evaluation's longitudinal approach enabled a strong and systematic investigation of the factors that foster children's ongoing creativity and imagination.

Read the evaluation summary 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.