The Sydney Story Factory, officially launched on the final day of the Sydney Writers' Festival on Sunday, began its first pilot program at Mount Carmel School, Waterloo this week.
Earlier this year I donated $25,000 for this important initiative from my Lord Mayor's Charity Trust.
The brainchild of Sydney Morning Herald journalists, their friends and supporters, Story Factory is designed to give children a place where they can develop their love of words.
Volunteer tutors offer children free help with any writing project they wish to undertake and also conduct writing workshops. While all children aged 7 to 17 are welcome, the Story Factory particularly aims to involve Aboriginal children and children from disadvantaged backgrounds.
The program is inspired by 826 Valencia, a writing centre for children that also offered help with homework, set up by novelist Dave Eggers and educator Ninive Caligari in San Francisco. Novelist Nick Hornby launched a similar venture, The Ministry of Stories, in London in late 2010.
The Story Factory Team plans to open a centre behind The Martian Embassy and Gift Shop in Redfern at the beginning of November.
To reach this goal, the team need to raise $200,000 by 30 July and are asking people to become members and/or make donations.
I encourage you to consider supporting the Story Factory - as well as helping children from all backgrounds discover the joy of reading and writing, the new centre will also contribute to the revitalisation of Redfern.