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Creative Youth Initiative (CYI)

Creative Youth Initiative (CYI), is a unique service that provides free creative programs for young people aged 16-25 who are facing many and varied challenges in their lives, such as:

Based in Surry Hills, near Sydney’s centre, CYI helps young people develop their creativity through visual arts and music. This in turn builds self-esteem, encourages self-expression and provides positive learning experiences in a safe and supportive environment. In addition, it provides young people with the opportunity to access free training programs run in partnership with TAFE as well as personalised individual support.

A Student Support Coordinator offers ongoing support and goal planning to students during their time in the program, as well as helps them find employment or enrol in further studies upon graduation. The Student Support Coordinator can also connect young people with other services such as suitable accommodation, drug support or counsellors as needed.

CYI consists of two semester-long programs run concurrently:

Sounds of the Street (SOTS) 

SOTS is a 20-week TAFE accredited music course that teaches students to compose, perform and record their own music. They also have the opportunity to learn an instrument. The students’ music is professionally mixed and mastered with students performing their compositions at the annual album launch.


Artworks! is a six-month visual arts program, which provides materials, skilled one-on-one and group tuition, and a safe place in which to explore creativity. Students explore and experiment with various mediums including painting, sketching, sculpture, life drawing, spray art and graphic design. Works are exhibited in an annual art exhibition and students often receive commissions from public and corporate entities.

How to Access Creative Youth Initiative

To access the Creative Youth initiative, please see the PDF download below for the criteria.

Major supporters and partners

Thank you to CYI’s major supporters and partners who help create change in young people’s lives including Alberts, Sir David Martin Foundation, Raymond E Purves Foundation, TAFE Outreach NSW, Alcatel Lucent, Gwynvill Group, James N Kirby Foundation, The Matana Foundation, Teen Spirit Charitable Foundation and The Baxter Charitable Foundation (managed by Perpetual), as well as Tony Muston, Tim & Jackie Blomfield, The Vernon Foundation and the support of many private donors.

How you can help 

Please donate to help young people overcome challenges like addiction and mental health issues and lead meaningful and independent lives.

For partnership enquiries please email us

Contact Information

Address 19 Denham Street, Surry Hills, NSW 2010
Phone 02 9356 8897

Operating Hours

Monday - Friday, 9.00am - 5.00pm