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SWYS-counselling thumb2South West Youth Services, run by our partners at Mission Australia, provides education, employment, life skills and counselling support to marginalised youth aged from 12 to 24 years in the south west Sydney region. It is a preventative and early intervention service that aims to discourage young people from disengaging with education and falling into unemployment or crime. 

SWYS-youth-centre-2 articleSouth West Youth Services (SWYS) runs a suite of programs across south west Sydney which work with marginalised youth who are at-risk of falling out of school or engaging in crime. The aim of the programs is to prevent young people becoming a social cost by breaking the poverty cycle in which they find themselves. SWYS wants to help young people reach their full potential and interact positively in the community. 

Most of the young people SWYS supports are from low socio-economic backgrounds and are no strangers to abuse, domestic violence, negative school experiences, social isolation, crime and welfare reliance. 

SWYS-music-studio articleSWYS works with young people by developing solutions based on individual strengths. It also takes a community-based focus and works closely with local schools, the police and other community groups. SWYS works to help the young people in its programs develop positive interactions with the people in their lives, remove them from isolation and help them to become functional members of their community.


The three SWYS programs funded by Sir David Martin Foundation are:

Youth Crime Prevention Program

This program connects a young person and their family with a youth worker to provide intensive, solution-focused case management. It focuses on re-engaging the young person with education or training, building a safe home environment, addressing any underlying issues such as mental illness and promoting pro-social behaviours.

Youth Counselling

Since 2006, the Foundation has funded an intensive counselling service for young people helped by SWYS and their families. Through support from a qualified counsellor, they are able to work through concerns relating to mental illness, abuse, domestic violence and family relationships. This program assists young people to develop strategies to cope with their problems and set goals for themselves for the future.

South West Youth Peer Education

South West Youth Peer Education (SWYPE) incorporates various activities to support young people aged 12-24 years. From its base at a youth centre in Miller, it offers case management support, advice and service referral, life skills and personal development workshops. It also provides a safe place for young people to hang out after school as well as access to a small recording studio so young people can engage in music. SWYPE also partners with local schools to run workshops on campus to help improve student behaviour, motivation, anger management and leadership skills. 


SWYS-bootcamp articleResults

South West Youth Services supports hundreds of marginalised youth each year. It has positive results in helping young people at risk of derailing their lives. Dozens are returned to school, or are placed into training. The Youth Crime Prevention program has strong results in stopping young people engaging in criminal behaviour. Each year the youth counsellor supports over 40 young people to address mental health concerns and rebuild relationships. SWYPE has been praised by local schools and police for the positive impact its presence in the community has had in re-engaging youth with school and promoting pro-social behaviour. 


“I'm very grateful for the generous support of Sir David Martin Foundation. Domestic violence, poverty, childhood abuse, drug and alcohol misuse, crime and mental illness are sadly all too common among the young people that we serve.  As Manager, it's fantastic to be given the ability to enhance our service by providing specialised support and guidance to young people with often tragic childhood experiences.” 
Trevor Summers, Service Manager at SWYS



One in 3 homeless young people say they are homeless because they are unable to afford housing costs or find work...

Homeless youth are much more likely to have alcohol and drug problems, mental illness and trouble with the law...

33% of youth aged 16 and 17 years have tried at least one type of illegal substance including; cannabis, hallucinogens, amphetamines, ecstasy, opiates or cocaine...

Over 100,000 Australians are homeless on any given night, of which at least 44,000 are aged 12 to 25...