Our Stories

Some of our stories from both participants and staff.

Sophie's Story

Sophie started at the Next Step in April 2011. Previously Sophie was attending a learning centre for skills development in Oakleigh after leaving Ashwood School in 2009.


Sophie and her parents decided she would benefit from a program that would help Sophie develop socially and become more independent with her living skills, while developing her work skills at the same time.


While Sophie was already able to travel independently, she knew she could benefit from further training in safety, communication and being able to successfully manage her money. Sophie also had a keen interest in cooking and being able to cook for herself and her family independently.


As Sophie’s communication, travel, cooking and work skills have developed, so has her interest in trying new things, specifically work experience and volunteering. During 2012 Sophie began weekly work experience at the Vermont Toy Library, travelling there independently and once there she cleans, counts and bags the toys ready to be put back on the shelves. She also indicated she would like to volunteer in an aged care facility and perhaps obtain work in the hospitality area.


Sophie started researching aged care facilities in her area and options to continue her interest in hospitality and cooking with the support of Burke & Beyond staff in her “Work Ready Program”. Sophie then proceeded to make phone calls and practice her interview skills. She secured an interview at Wahroonga Aged Care in Glen Waverley, which then followed on to her getting a volunteer position on Friday afternoons. Still keen to further her hospitality career, Sophie and staff did a trial at the Waverley Industries Canteen, where she did front of house duties including serving behind the counter. Sophie proved to be a friendly, hard and consistent worker and has been offered work experience at Waverley in 2013.

Andrew’s Story

Andrew and his brother arrived from New South Wales in July 2010 to live with their grandparents in Melbourne. Andrew attended a service in New South Wales where he was developing his life skills in independence.


When Andrew arrived in Melbourne he wanted to continue with increasing his development in independent travel, community access and work options.so with his father and grandparents set out looking for a service that could accommodate his needs. Andrew and his father visited three different services in the eastern region and chose Burke and Beyond for its relaxed atmosphere and program diversity. Andrew thought that with the support of staff at Burke and Beyond, he could achieve his goals here.


Andrew had already started to identify the areas in which he would like to further his knowledge, being the hospitality field and especially being a barman. With the help of the staff, Andrew was able to then identify areas such as money, communication and independence he needed development in to help him achieve his goals. He then took part in a Hospitality and Retail course run through Burke and Beyond and attained his Initial Training for the Responsible Service of Alcohol. Andrew will be continuing his training in 2012 to obtain his full RSA certificate. In the meantime, he has been supported to start a work placement at Cellarbration in Blackburn. He replenishes the fridges and greets customers every Tuesday morning. He is absolutely loving it, thanks to the supportive team at Cellarbration.


Since being at Burke and Beyond, Andrew now travels independently on public transport and on occasion travels into the city to meet with his father after work. Part of Andrew’s plan was to meet new people and develop new friendships, Andrew has achieved this and meets regularly outside of Burke and Beyond for a coffee with friends in the weekends and after work.


Andrew feels he has gained more independence since starting at Burke and Beyond and has now has the confidence to take on more work experience at a local business, learning office skills, time management and developing a sense of a real work environment. Andrew feels very positive about his future and so do we.


Update November 2013: Andrew has now secured a position in a supported employment business where he works with his good friend Anthony.

Terry and Yuki

Terry’s living on the edge with his personalised supports


Terry has been coming to Burke and Beyond for many years and doing a range of group activities. But a few years ago Terry decided he wanted a change. He was tired of getting up early and coming in for the whole day and he also wanted to do some specific activities.


So it was time for a rethink on how to use Terry’s ISP to best meet his needs. The discussion with Terry and his supports commenced and it wasn’t long before we reached the conclusion that what Terry really would like is some one to one support to do things that made him happy. This would mean a reduction of hours of support because he was requesting one to one in place of group support, but this was fine as his living situation allowed this.


Now Terry goes out twice a week with a Community Support Worker of his choice provided by Burke and Beyond. This has been a great advantage to Terry as Burke and Beyond have got to know Terry well over the years so we know what his needs are and he knows the staff we are providing. Terry’s happy and if Terry’s happy, we’re happy.

Chloe’s Story

Chloe started at the Next Step in 2010 with five other participants. She had just finished year 12 at Heatherwood School and in consultation with her mum, decided to come to the Next Step. When Chloe first started at the Next Step she was extremely shy. Chloe said that when she first started she was “very nervous,” however after a few days she “really liked it.”


When Chloe first started coming to the Next Step she decided that she would like to travel independently. Through travel training, Chloe developed the skills to catch the bus and train to and from work. Since Chloe has been at the Next Step, through a variety of programs, Chloe has become confident in making her way around Blackburn, travelling to different locations and making her own decisions.


In the first years of being at the Next Step, Chloe identified that she would like to become a hairdresser. The staff at the Next Step supported Chloe to research hairdressing, the skills and responsibilities required. Once she realised what was needed, Chloe decided that she no longer wanted to become a hairdresser and began to explore other options.


Chloe has identified that in the future, she would like to live on her own. This year Chloe has begun a project researching how to live independently. Over the last year, she has travelled down to the Canterbury service where she has been learning to do the laundry. She has become confident in using the washing machine to wash the aprons and tea towels from the cooking program and then use the dryer for the right items.


One of Chloe’s interests is art and she participates in an arts program in Box Hill which she travels to independently. Chloe has also been commissioned by a local business to produce some artwork for their office. Her artwork will be displayed for customers to enjoy or buy. Chloe has graduated from the Next Step at the end of 2013. In addition to her art work, he now spends one morning a week helping with Meals on Wheels in Ringwood, which was set up for her when she was still at the Next Step. She also spends three days a week at our new Bayswater service where we support her to further vocational skills as she wants to pursue more employment options. She has a very busy life.

Trevor’s Story

Trevor joined our Canterbury service in 2007. Prior to coming to Burke and Beyond, Trevor attend Vatmi Industries where he worked on the production line.


Trevor enjoys coming to Burke and Beyond 5 days a week and has established many friendships with his peers and members of the local community. He is involved in many community based program which enables him to take on various leadership roles and responsibilities. Most importantly he has developed many friendships, which has helped him to build up his self confidence, independence and develop his social and interactive skills.


Some of the programs which Trevor is involved in which he thoroughly enjoys are:


Organising footy tipping around Maling road with local shop keepers, delivering Meals on Wheels and Library book for the Boroondara City Council as well as walking local neighbor’s dogs each Friday.


Trevor has become involved in a new community based program where he visits the local Kinder and collects their shopping list for the week and with other Burke & Beyond people, goes and purchases the items that they need. Everyone involved enjoys the social aspect of this great activity and have developed good working relationships


Trevor is continuing to develop his skills further and has become more independent in the activities that he is undertaking. He is eager to continue his learning. He now wants to travel independently between from Burke & Beyond and his home.
Trevor has been supported by Burke & Beyond staff and house staff to learn and develop skills which enhances his life and development which he is continually expressing through his plan. He is certainly going places!

Mark’s Story

Mark has spent a number of his adult years attending Burke and Beyond’s Blackburn South Service. About 10 months ago a small group of people came together to review and discuss Mark’s future goals and aspirations. It was during his Person Centred Service Plan meeting, that Marks expressed a desire to become more independent, away from the normal routine of activities offered at Burke and Beyond.


Even though Mark regularly uses public transport to travel to and from Burke and Beyond, he had not left the site during normal attendance hours to ‘do his own thing’.


With Mark’s wish to experience the community independently, his Community Residential Keyworker and his Burke and Beyond Keyworker discussed possible strategies to enable Mark to safely fulfil his goal whilst honouring the duty of care initiated by Burke and Beyond.


A key strategy developed was providing Mark with a mobile phone, organised by Mark’s Community Residential worker at an affordable price for him, which would ensure contact could be maintained whilst allowing Mark independence in the community. Within a few weeks, Mark was able to make and receive calls on his mobile phone and proceeded to head off on his own to an agreed location. Mark now regularly accesses his community and enjoys shopping for items and the occasional cup of coffee, returning to Burke and Beyond with new skills, confident and proud of his achievement.

Social Media at Burke and Beyond


Our Social Media chronicles the daily goings-on of Burke and Beyond Participants. With a fun, positive and inclusive spin, our posts to Facebook and Instagram provide an insight into the experiences that our participants engage in from morning ‘till night. Be it a travel day out to Lilydale Lake, a workout at the local gym or a creative group project, you’ll find it all on our Socials!


We are proud of all of our participants and celebrate their everyday wins. Always a flurry of activity, our programs are heavily goal-based, and are tailored according to the developmental needs of each participant. If you don’t catch us while out and about, you can always see what we are up to when you like us on Facebook and Instagram!