Strictly Billboard

Robin with her giant poster picture

Strictly Billboard

Uniting brand ambassador Robin Bryan says she could hardly believe it when she first saw a Uniting poster with her photo on a bus. “I said, ‘Dad, isn’t that me?’”

She says she was excited to be asked to be in the ad campaign, but adds, “I didn’t realise how much I would be out there! I’d see myself every time I went past Petersham Station. My sister saw posters of me in Canberra.”

She laughs as she talks about how it feels to see her photo – often unexpectedly – in public places. Growing up with a disability she never thought of herself as a model.

Robin laughs even more as she unfurls a full size advertising poster of herself that Uniting has given her, and decides to give it to her dad as it’s too big display in her apartment. She’s enjoying the experience, but takes the sudden attention with a pinch of salt.

Robin says her dad was “amazed” when she became a brand ambassador. But according to Robin what he finds even more amazing than her becoming one of the faces of Uniting, is that she moved out of home in 2016 and now lives independently, with a little help from Uniting.

“When you have a daughter with a disability you don’t expect them to have all this independence,” she says.

She was nervous about moving out at first. But her family encouraged her, pointing out that her sister, who works for NSW Health, had her own place.

Before Robin moved out of home her parents let her have a trial run living alone the family home for a few days at a time, first for four days then for 10 days.

“Dad was a bit worried,” Robin says. “He thought, ‘Will she make it for 10 days?’ … And I did! So he knew I was ready to move out.”

During the 10 days home alone a support worker checked up on her regularly. Now living in her own apartment a Uniting support worker visits her on Tuesdays and Thursdays, as well as every second Sunday, helping with shopping and cooking, and making sure everything is okay.

Despite her initial qualms, Robin is very happy with the arrangement.

“Moving out has been really fun actually,” she says. “I can do whatever I want, and Dad can’t say ‘Don’t watch Dance Mums!’ I’ve loved every minute.”

Dance is one of Robin’s passions. As well as watching Dance Mums, her favourite film is Strictly Ballroom. Dance was also a major theme in a film Robin worked on with Bus Stop Films, a non-profit organisation that works with people with intellectual disabilities.

With Bus Stop Films, Robin was one of the directors for Heartbreak and Beauty. “It’s about people with disabilities who find it hard to communicate, so they communicate and show emotions through dance,” she explains. “It’s about sisterhood, relationships and growing up into beautiful young men and women.”

Her dad plans to put up the poster of her in his garage – the only place big enough to house it.

To find out more about Uniting or to discover a service that’s right for you, call us on 1800 864 846 or email ask@uniting.org. We’d love to hear from you.

17 Comments
  • Jennifer Laraman
    Posted at 05:59h, 23 January Reply

    Robin Bryan, super happy and super proud to see your name in lights.. You go girl….

    • Tabitha Noonan
      Posted at 12:54h, 30 January Reply

      Thanks, Jennifer. We’re pretty proud to have her as our poster girl too 🙂
      ~Tabitha, The Uniting team

  • Isabel Hayek
    Posted at 09:58h, 22 January Reply

    It’s wonderful seeing Robin as an advocate for people with disabilities. An incredibly supporting, loving family that has helped along the way. Wonderful seeing Robin grow into a mature and independent person. Hopefully her story will encourage others.

    • Tabitha Noonan
      Posted at 12:56h, 30 January Reply

      Thanks, Isabel. Robin’s love for her family is clear from her words.
      ~Tabitha, The Uniting team

  • Jan Louise Handel
    Posted at 22:49h, 19 January Reply

    This is just fabulous to read! x Jan Handel

    • Tabitha Noonan
      Posted at 13:02h, 30 January Reply

      Thanks, Jan. It’s one of our favourite blogs 🙂
      ~Tabitha, The Uniting team

  • Catherine Reynolds
    Posted at 16:39h, 19 January Reply

    I love this! I get a thrill too every time I catch a train through Petersham & see Robin’s smiling face on the poster. She is an inspirational brand ambassador for Uniting. Her parents always concentrated on what Robin could achieve, not on what she couldn’t. They empowered her to become the wonderful young woman that she is today!
    Thank you Uniting – your support can make a real difference in assisting young people like Robin achieve independence.

    • Tabitha Noonan
      Posted at 13:02h, 30 January Reply

      Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment, Catherine. I’m the same when I go through Petersham! Robin’s story certainly an inspiring example of what’s possible when young people like Robin get the right support from an amazing family and support workers.
      All the best.
      ~Tabitha, The Uniting team

  • Robin Knowles
    Posted at 14:15h, 19 January Reply

    Wow Rob what a thrill to see your poster and have your story out in print. I know your Mum would be pleased as punch to see how well you’re doing!
    I’m hoping Jenni, Paige and Grace all get to see this very soon. Love you lots! Big Rob.

  • Anne Steiner
    Posted at 13:53h, 19 January Reply

    Great to read Robin’s story, what an inspiration she certainly is. Her Mum, Chris Jones was an inspirational school counsellor and would be so proud too.

    • Tabitha Noonan
      Posted at 12:58h, 30 January Reply

      Thanks for your lovely words, Anne 🙂
      ~Tabitha, The Uniting team

  • Liz Strasser
    Posted at 13:36h, 19 January Reply

    Great story about a great person who comes from a great family. Go Robbie!

    • Tabitha Noonan
      Posted at 12:57h, 30 January Reply

      Thanks, Liz. She’s an absolute star 🙂
      Tabitha, The Uniting team

  • Mary Bryan
    Posted at 12:50h, 19 January Reply

    Oh, l love this! And isn’t Rob the best poster girl for what someone with a disability can be up for! I see this article as real recognition of everyone who has helped make Robin’s successful transition to independent living possible.
    Loved the story! And a great photo!

    • Tabitha Noonan
      Posted at 13:02h, 19 January Reply

      Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment, Mary. We think Robin is an inspiration too and feel proud to be able to share her story.
      Thanks again 🙂
      Tabitha, The Uniting team

  • Dick bryan
    Posted at 11:15h, 19 January Reply

    Fantastic story and pic Wendy

    • Wendy
      Posted at 13:17h, 19 January Reply

      Hi Dick. I’m glad you like the piece. I had so much fun meeting Robin and unfurling the poster with her 🙂

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