Elizabeth Robinson – Model of support

Elizabeth Robinson

A dedicated advocate for young carers, Flinders graduate Elizabeth Robinson (GradCertPubPol ’15) developed The Ignatian Model to support young carers.

While working as a solicitor Elizabeth was actively involved in community life. She is a former President of Novita and from 2003 to 2005 was an appointed member of the South Australian Carers Ministerial Advisory Committee that saw the carer’s legislation introduced into South Australia.

However, in 2008 Elizabeth found that she needed to step away from her professional work to support her daughter’s new diagnosis of a degenerative neurological condition. In her full time role as carer Elizabeth developed a deeper understanding of the health system and its impacts on individuals and their families. With an approach centred on connecting communities, she continued to volunteer and advocate for those struggling to cope with these impacts.

Since 2010 Elizabeth has been a driving force behind The Ignatian Model, in partnership with Saint Ignatius’ College in Adelaide. The Model aims to foster sustainable communities by educating and supporting students facing adversity, with a particular focus on young carers. The Model also seeks to educate all students on how to access support if times of adversity do arise.

To ensure academic rigour in her advocacy work, Elizabeth studied a post graduate Certificate in Public Policy at Flinders, graduating in 2015. Through her studies she was able to ground The Ignatian Model in the context of the broader field of public policy it seeks to operate within.

Elizabeth was grateful for the opportunity to study under Associate Professor Janet McIntyre, who had a major impact on her as a student. “Her teachings and research resonated so well with me as my work is largely within the grass roots of community life,” said Elizabeth.

Along with Elizabeth, the project team included parent and carer, Dr Manya Angley with Saint Ignatius’ College’s Peter Coffey (Principal) and Robert Passaniti (Director of Student Wellbeing).

“We have all worked so hard and tirelessly to develop the model because we know how hard it can be for students facing adversity without support, especially those students whose caring roles are hidden and may always remain hidden, due to the nature of the caring,” said Elizabeth.

As a result of the Model, a mentoring program was established at the College. The program includes an impressive number of past students returning to act as mentors to current students facing adversity. Many of the past students have experienced adversity during their school life including, being a young carer, loss of a family member and ill health. Work arising as a result of the Ignatian Model continues.

In 2017 Elizabeth was nominated for an SA Achievement Award for her community and advocacy work, including her work on The Ignatian Model. In October Saint Ignatius’ College presented The Ignatian Model at the 7th International Carers Conference. It was the only school to present at the conference.

The leadership of Saint Ignatius’ College are keen to share the Model and its programs amongst all schools. For more information contact Robert Passaniti, Director of Student Wellbeing, Saint Ignatius’ College on (08) 8334 9300.

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