Barrie is a 69 year old Sydney resident who has connected with Holdsworth’s services through his Support Coordinator. Barrie is proud to share his story, and Holdsworth is proud to be part of it.
There are not many people who genuinely contribute to the social fabric of an entire city. But Barrie does. Barrie’s lived all over. There were some bad times, welfare issues and medication side effects and the like, but he’s pretty quick at remembering the good. He’s nearly 70 now. That’s a good innings. He’s surprised he has made it to this age, but he still feels like a young man.
The first thing most people notice about him is that he’s a Rabbitohs fan. Barrie’s often wearing his Rabbitohs zip-up jacket. But actually, until the 1999 grand final where a controversial penalty try secured Melbourne Storm’s victory over the Dragons, Barrie was a St George man. It’s less about the team, really. It’s more about treasured memories of Rugby League games with his parents, about great conversations. After all, Barrie’s the social type.
Barrie and Aaron meeting for the first time
Barrie and Carmel have a laugh over dinner.
Aaron and Barrie hit it off the first time they went out. It wouldn’t work if they didn’t. Aaron collects Barrie and they always get to their location early – a good restaurant, a sports club – and grab coffee before the others in the group arrive. Then Barrie gets home without a worry – aside from bumper-to-bumper traffic on the nights, the big games are on at the SCG. But Aaron’s the driver, and Barrie knows he can handle it.
Next year, when it’s time to reassess his NDIS goals, Barrie will look at what’s next. What he might want and the support to get him there. And he knows he’s got his Support Coordinator to help him navigate it all. And he’s got Aaron on his side, too. Just like Barrie is there for so many other people in the community, they’ll go to bat for him. And that’s a good thing for Barrie to know.
Barrie’s got a heart of gold. You can just about see it glistening through his chest when he helps out with the older folk on their Tuesday bus outings. He’s as healthy as a horse, so why wouldn’t he help? That’s what Barrie thinks, anyway. And he talks about his friends with such warmth and gratitude. What they think of him in return is no secret, either. A jam-packed social calendar; a thoughtful birthday gift; enthusiasm to try a restaurant Barrie’s chosen. You can just tell how much he means to them.
Barrie’s not a guy you expect needs to lean on someone. After all, he gives so much of himself to others and seems so full of personality that he might burst at the seams. But evenings are dark in Redfern where he lives, and public transport can feel dangerous and unpredictable. Without Aaron, Barrie’s Support Worker, Barrie would stay home on a Friday night. He says it himself. But with Aaron, Barrie’s adventures take him far and wide with his Friday Night Social Group.