Hearts of Gold: A home makeover for dedicated carers Bob and Barb

Foster Care, News | Posted September 14, 2023
Hearts of Gold: A home makeover for dedicated carers Bob and Barb

On Saturday 16 September, a Carer Makeover was carried out in Melbourne’s West for dedicated OzChild Carers Bob and Barb. The makeover was organised thanks to the generosity of local trades, organised by long-term supporter of OzChild, David Gibson from O’Brien Electrical Carrum Downs. 

The house received a makeover that included electrical works by the team at O’Brien Electrical, and another half dozen tradies and suppliers who contributed to fixing and painting in different rooms. Outside the front veranda was repaired and garden tidied up.  

For O’Brien Electrical, the home makeover initiative is an opportunity to give back to people like Bob and Barb who selflessly help their community every day.

“The selfless dedication of Bob and Barb blows me away. Being able to come in with the team to help with the makeover is a great privilege, it makes a difference to their lives. This is our way of saying thanks, for everything they do, it’s the least we could do” said David Gibson

Bob and Barb have a long history with fostering, starting their journey 25 years ago after responding to a newspaper advertisement for a carer wanted for a child who had a physical and intellectual disability and high medical needs. Since then, they have cared for several children with high medical needs, their house adapting and changing with them over the years.

The couple are as resilient as they come. Exceptionally positive and well-loved throughout their suburban community and carer network, it’s clear to see the impact they both have on the people around them.  

Though there are hurdles that come with caring for children with high needs, the couple have always put them first, and dedicated their lives to being available to support the children’s needs around the clock. Keeping siblings together and nurturing connection with birth families is an important element of fostering to Bob and Barb.  

The couple’s home has been a very special place to many children and young people over the years they have lived and fostered there. To ensure the children had a space to play and do psychical therapy, the double garage out the back was converted into a sensory room. The area for the children has an array of sensory items, equipment on the floor to practice their motor skills, and lots of other considered items to meet their needs. Being in Bob and Barb’s home, you can tell a lot of thought and love has gone into every room.  

In 2021, Bob and Barb had a particularly challenging year when Bob was diagnosed with cancer. Even during these challenges, the couple have stayed resilient and happy individuals who always focus on the positives, one day at a time. All the while still being the best carers they can be for their foster children. Bob and Barb are outstanding volunteers of the community.  

OzChild thanks all those involved in the lead-up to and on the day of the makeover, especially David Gibson who worked tirelessly to ensure the makeover delivered as much as possible for the couple, making Bob and Barb’s life a little easier. 

We are incredibly grateful to everyone who contributed on the day and those who donated products, services, goods and their time to lend a hand. 

Thank you to O’Brien Electrical Carrum Downs, Thomastown and Ballarat, Bunnings Melton, Enviroscope, Rexel and Paul Tufnell Carpenter services.

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