bathurst carillon1981
Veritas House founded by Bathurst Youth Service, a social action committee of the UnitingChurch, Bathurst. Dominican Sisters granted the use of their building for the youth refuge purposes. During its first year, the refuge housed approximately 100 young people.

Refuge moved to Keppel Street; there were then two live-in voluntary supervisors.  First funding obtained from Youth & Community Services (“YACS”, as Family and Community Services – FACS was then known) and Department of Social Security (Centrelink).

Two youth workers were employed by Veritas House and became independent of Bathurst Youth Service.

Refuge moved to larger quarters on Sydney Road, Kelso. Old premises in Keppel Street turned into medium term accommodation for young people between 15 and 21.

Refuge moved to another house (provided by Department of Corrective Services) in Keppel Street. The employment of a fourth worker enabled the refuge to be open 24 hours a day Monday to Friday.

Medium term services moved to new premises.

Veritas House incorporated pursuant to the NSW Associations Incorporation Act, as Veritas House Youth Refuge Inc.

Approached by the Department of Community Services (DoCS) to take on the additional service of Adolescent and Family Counsellor. Management accepted this proposal and the corresponding funding. First funding of a full-time position for the medium term service.

Due to financial constraints staff had to be reduced to 3.5 workers. The Keppel Street property was bought by the NSW Department of Housing, which gave the refuge security of tenure. The “Workout Scheme”, supervised by staff, was introduced, to provide residents with job opportunities.

DoCS agreed to fund an additional staff position, that of a Housing Support Worker. Medium term moved from West Bathurst closer to the Bathurst Centre.

All staff covered by the new Social and Community Services Award. Staff comprised of 4.5 youth workers at the refuge, one at Medium term, and one counsellor in Adolescent and Family Counselling.

In response to the Usher Report’s recommendations for the deinstitutionalisation of substitute care for children and adolescents, DoCS increased our funding. Initial funding also received for an Outreach worker.

A fire at the refuge damaged the bedroom and bathroom areas. For the six weeks it took to complete the repairs, the service continued to function.

Name changed to Veritas House Inc. in recognition of services in addition to the refuge. The Model Rules for Associations recommended by the NSW Department of Consumer Affairs was formally adopted. The year was characterised by a major funding crisis; medium term temporarily closed to cope.

DoCS’ funding was adjusted towards the end of this year, to somewhat appropriate levels.

A comprehensive training program and training manual was developed for all prospective employees and work experience students.

MYOB accounting introduced. Issues concerning the suitability of the location of the refuge are becoming acute.

Agreed to auspice Backtracks, Youth In Search camps and Aboriginal Cultural Camps; after a few years, they later became autonomous and independent of Veritas.  Concerns with the suitability of the refuge building and of the location continue.

A building report revealed major issues about the safety of the refuge building and a joint decision was made with Community Housing and Community Service officers to relocate the refuge to another neighbourhood. Received full support from the relevant state authorities and Mr Gerard Martin MLA, and stood firm in the face of bitter opposition from neighbours.

Better Futures Program gave us a grant to develop a Healthy Relationships project over a period of 18 months.

Development of the Veritas House Strategic Plan. Service co-location to 95 Keppel St.  Extension of Better Futures contract to facilitate the Get REAL @ Relationships program in local schools.

Successfully gained Community Housing Registration with the Registrar of Community Housing. Implementation of the Youth and Family Support service, through the Early Intervention and Placement Prevention funding stream administered from Human Services Family and Community Services. Said goodbye to much loved Youth Adventure Program, Backtracks.

Success in securing funding for the Foster Care program.

Successful tender process for Veritas House, Bathurst and Emerge Orange and moved to new larger premises of 106-108 Russell Street, Bathurst. Programs now include Foster Care, Youth & Family Support, Specialist Homeless Service, Adolescent & Family Counselling and Non Placement Support Services.