Robbie’s story is one of resilience and determination, and one we really wanted to share with our St Bart’s community.
Robert “Robbie” North came to St Bart’s in October 2019, at the age of 33. As a child, he suffered burns to 85 per cent of his body which has had a significant impact on his entire life. From the age of five, Robbie was in foster care and since then a lack of stable housing was the norm. Living in shared houses exposed his vulnerabilities, and he was easily exploited by others.
“For many years I felt angry and hopeless, but when I came to St Bart’s I was given the tools I needed to find the long-term, stable housing I always wanted,” says Robbie.
Meeting with his case manager on a weekly basis, Robbie was able to devise a clear plan on how his quality of life could be improved and was provided with opportunities that encouraged his sense of independence. Unable to shop and cook for himself due to his injuries, Robbie was supported with a meal plan to ensure he was eating a healthy and balance diet. He was also connected to a GP to establish a mental healthcare plan, while our staff worked hard to build the trust that he so desperately needed to move forward in his recovery journey.
While continuing to challenge himself on his recovery journey, Robbie still found time to help others by volunteering at Second Bite – an organisation that delivers surplus fresh food from suppliers to local charities and not-for-profits to support people in need in the community. Robbie’s hard work and commitment to the job saw him gain a paid position with the organisation.
Robbie’s main goal has always been to have his own place to call home, and by linking with NDIS he was allocated a package that ensured he could live alone.
“Asking for help is something I always struggled with because I thought it made me look weak,” Robbie said. “Now I know that it’s actually OK to ask for help when I need it.”
Just last week, Robbie moved into a private rental property in Maylands. He receives daily support from NDIS, and continues to be connected to St Bart’s through our BHP-funded Reconnecting Lives Program.
“It’s been a journey and now I feel more alive,” Robbie said. Robbie’s journey has been truly inspirational and shows what positive engagement, clear goal setting and determination can achieve.
Read The Sunday Times’ article and interview with Robbie here.