So often we hear of our Duke of Ed Awardees going on to achieve some pretty fascinating things, using the skills and talents they have developed through the Award to take action and make a positive difference in the world.
After completing his Bronze, Silver and Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Robbie Gillies of Victoria is no exception. With a passion for creating social change, Robbie has gone on to devote himself to social enterprises that make a difference to some of our most vulnerable citizens.
A Co-founder of Homeless of Melbourne, Robbie is determined to challenge negative attitudes towards homelessness through his charity clothing store ‘HoMie’. Robbie is also working on setting up a new non-for-profit organisation, Charity Tap whose mission is to alleviate poverty through innovative social enterprise, awareness raising, and fundraising for grassroots charities.
Robbie’s achievements have lead him to be recognised as the 2016 Victorian Young Australian of the Year.
While completing three university degrees, leading an orchestra, and playing in a number of sporting clubs, Robert Gillies really has his hands full. Nevertheless, the young man has found the time to devote to the community, making a difference to some of the most vulnerable citizens.
Robbie’s participation in The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award helped shaped his focus on social entrepreneurship, stating “Duke of Ed was part of the fixture at my high school and everyone was strongly encouraged to do it…It taught me to structure time, realise important priorities and get physically fit – all great things to learn at a young age. This is in addition to the social aspects, like breeding compassion and fostering community outreach”.
The Service component of the Award encourages young people like Robbie to give back to the community, supporting people in need, such as the homeless. It provides participants an intrinsic benefit, and a sense of achievement that is invaluable. The Duke of Ed furthers an individuals abilities including time management, creativity, building confidence, and seeking solutions for the betterment of society.
As Executive-Director of Yarra Swim Co, Robbie is reviving the historic ‘Race to Princes Bridge’ and leading the push for a functional Yarra River for swimming. He has worked as an HIV researcher, and served as a director for charities, preventing poverty overseas and in remote Indigenous communities. Step by Step, Robbie is changing the perception of homelessness, increasing awareness and action.
Enthusiastic and determined, Robert is a role model for young Australians wanting to make the world a better place.
Congratulations to Robbie on becoming Victoria’s Young Australian of the Year for 2016.