A mum has been speaking about her “excruciating” 25-year battle to get help for her daughter who tragically died at the age of 35.
Sunderland -born mum Tina Robson died at a homeless hostel, Bridge House Mission in Stockton, on July 26 last year.
Her mum Sue Robson wants to create a lasting legacy for her ‘unique and stunning’ daughter by supporting women who are in need.
She died just six days after joining Bridge House Mission. Tina, who lived in Stockton, Teesside, had addictions that were triggered by childhood trauma which began around the age of eight or nine.
Tina, who lived on Teesside for over a decade, started “self-medicating with alcohol and drugs from a young age”.
Sue spoke to Teesside Live after Tina’s inquest was opened at Teesside Coroner’s Court.
The mum-of-four said: “I have been fighting for help since Tina was nine years old.
“I never stopped fighting.
“Spanning 25 years, there’s never been a single day when I wasn’t fighting for Tina.
“I think it was an accumulation of unmet needs and she needed trauma-informed support.
“From the untreated trauma came the school exclusions, then criminal behaviour.
“She was systematically failed from the age of nine.
“Her whole life was really tragic because of unmet needs.”
Sue, who also has four grandchildren, paid tribute to her daughter and spoke about the “person who wasn’t the addiction.”
Wiping away her tears, she said: “Tina had huge potential, she was unique, she was her own person.
“She was completely individual and had her own style.
“She was very attractive, stunning and very intelligent.
“Despite missing a whole load of school, she was very clever, insightful, artistic and creative.
“She just had her own way.
“She always dressed nicely and was well-presented despite her problems.
“Inside there was a person who wasn’t the addiction.
“She had enormous potential and was really intelligent.
“My hope was that she would get the help she needed and help others.”
Tina gave birth to her son Vinnie aged 23 but social services told Tina that her son would be taken into care.
He was then discharged into Sue’s care and she facilitated regular contact between the pair for 11 years.
Community development practitioner Sue added: “Even though Vinnie lived with me since he was five weeks old, I was his main carer, but Tina had a very close bond with Vinnie.
“She was his mother and he loved her and she loved him.
“I knew it was absolutely vital was that Tina had a relationship with her son. She maintained that until unfortunately she died.”
Vinnie, who is now 13, has “many happy memories with his mum.”
Tina’s inquest was opened at Teesside Coroner’s Court on Wednesday.
The Middlesbrough court heard how Tina passed away on July 26, last year, at Bridge House Mission on Bridge Street, Stockton.
Assistant coroner Karin Welsh explained a post mortem had been carried out by Dr David Scoones and ruled “a cause of death which has been described as not a natural death”.
Bridge House provides accommodated support for 28 homeless people with support available in-house 24 hours a day with residents getting a bed, breakfast and evening meal.
Sue told how Tina battled mental health and addiction issues throughout her life and always lived in supported accommodation but in December 2019 she was moved to Thornaby.
“It was the first time she had lived independently,” Sue added.
Tina had “floating support” in the community from December 2019 until July 2020.
However, her mum said Tina “became a target for exploitation and violence”.
She was then moved to Bridge House Mission on July 20 but was sadly found dead six days later.
‘Nothing ever prepares you’
Following a meeting at Bridge House, Sue told how she “breathed a sigh of relief and thought OK, she’s safe”.
“I then got the call to say she was dead,” Sue said.
“I anticipated that call for 25 years but nothing ever prepares you for it.
“I felt like I’d taken my eye off the ball for a couple of days with my grandchildren and she was gone.”
Since Tina’s death, Sue has completed work which has been included in campaigns to shine a light on death of vulnerable people with complex needs in temporary homeless accommodation.
She has also raised money for a legacy project for Tina at The Open Nest Charity.
Sue said: “We so far have raised £2,300 and are working towards a lasting creative and practical resource to support birth mothers and children who have been severed by addiction.
“We are now attempting to link together the work of Museum of Homelessness with the legacy work of The Open Nest.”
The Open Nest Supports families and individuals living with the consequences of traumatic events through relationship based practice and openness in communication.
The coroner scheduled a three to four day inquest to take place next year.
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