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Christmas is set to be a whole lot brighter for local young people who have transitioned from homelessness into independent living and vulnerable families, thanks to sizable donations from Orange Ex-Services and Bathurst RSL Clubs.  

The Clubs have donated to Veritas House’s Christmas Appeal, making possible the purchase of almost 70 Christmas hampers, each filled to the brim with $110 worth of groceries, to be delivered to young people transitioning from homelessness or Out of Home Care into independent living and to vulnerable families across the Central West. 

“For most of the young people who will receive these hampers, Christmas was looking like a fairly lean affair; with the costs of living already so high, they certainly would not be able to afford Christmas treats like pudding and presents,” said Narelle Stocks, Veritas House Acting CEO. “Thanks to the generosity of the OESC and Bathurst RSL, we’re able to gift not only some essential items and fresh fruit and vegetables, but some special Christmas surprises too, to brighten their festive season considerably.” 

“Assisting to prepare the hampers will also be a lot of fun for our staff and our case workers are looking forward to the opportunity to deliver them to each of our clients and to see the smiles on their faces,” said Narelle.  “That’s what Christmas is all about and the generosity the Clubs have shown to Veritas, helping to bring smiles to the faces of local people doing it tough at this time of year, should be applauded.” 

Veritas has also been generously supported by VERTO, Big W Bathurst, 2BS/B-Rock, and Raine & Horne Bathurst and Central West residents through the donation of more than 200 gifts for young people who placed a wish on the Veritas House Christmas Wishing Trees. 

Veritas House is a not-for-profit organisation that was established in the Central West over 40 years ago and has grown to become one of the largest providers of foster care, youth homelessness and family support services in the region, supporting more than 900 children, young people and families each year.  

Christmas wishes for more than 220 local children and young people have been placed on Christmas trees at Veritas House offices in Bathurst and Orange, and the local charity is calling on the community to help make this Christmas brighter for these special young people. 

For the sixth year Veritas has again set up Christmas Wishing Trees in their offices at 98 Keppel Street and 96 Bentinck Street, Bathurst, as well as 29 Sale Street, Orange. Veritas House is calling on local residents to embrace the spirit of giving and purchase a gift for a child or young person who is either in Out-of-Home Care, experienced homelessness, or unlikely to receive a gift this year due to hardship.  

“Each year we are overwhelmed by the generosity of the Bathurst and Orange communities in supporting our Christmas Appeal and we are hopeful the community will rally again to help us grant all the wishes on our trees,” said Veritas House Business Development Manager, Narelle Stocks.  

“In previous years we’ve had parents bring their children in to select a tag and purchase a gift, so they could learn the importance of giving gifts, not simply receiving. We’ve also had businesses in the region replace their office Kris Kringle with buying gifts for our clients, which was a huge contribution towards filling our tree and providing gifts to all of the children in our care,” said Narelle. 

There are several ways the community can contribute; the most popular being to visit a Veritas House office to collect a gift tag with the wish list of a child from the Christmas tree, and then return it by Wednesday 7th December with the preferably unwrapped gift. Alternatively, supporters can purchase a gift card for a local teenager or make a tax-deductible donation to contribute towards the purchase of a gift for a child via the Veritas House website: 

In addition to the trees at Veritas House, Bathurst businesses Moodie’s Pharmacy in Howick Street and Anytime Fitness in George Street will once again have Veritas tags on their Christmas trees for customers to collect. 

Over the past two years, the local service has been unable to hold their annual Christmas Party due to Covid but is looking forward to again seeing Santa distribute many of the gifts to local children, ranging in age from newborns to 18, who are living in Foster Care. 

“Children and young people enter into foster care for a myriad of reasons, but generally they have experienced a degree of trauma, neglect and abuse that required intervention and removal for their own safety and well-being,” explained Narelle.  

“Veritas House Foster Carers in Bathurst and Orange provide a secure, safe and supportive home environment to these children and young people, but there is no doubt that Christmas can still be a tough time, so our Christmas Appeal is an opportunity for local residents to bring some joy into the lives of these special children.” 

Veritas House is a not-for-profit organisation that was established in the Central West over 40 years ago and has grown to become one of the largest providers of foster care, youth homelessness and family support services in the region, supporting more than 900 children, young people and families each year.  

Local Foster Carer, Maureen Wilkins was today announced the recipient of the Deb Elsley Memorial Award by Veritas House as part of their Foster Care Week celebrations.  

The award acknowledges the significant contribution that Maureen has made as a Foster Carer for the past 14 years, and in providing a safe and supportive home environment for the past nine years to two young siblings who she refers to as her own and who she has assisted alongside her biological child to grow and develop in a happy and healthy way. 

According to House Permanency Support Program Operations Manager, Toneya Carr-Smith, Maureen’s advocacy for equal opportunities for all children, including children with disabilities, and her advice to other local foster carers on navigating the disability sector has positively impacted the broader carer network.  

“Maureen is an exceptional carer who is actively involved in regularly connecting her foster children with their birth parents and paternal grandparents and is raising all of her children to be their best versions of themselves,” said Toneya.  

“While working at Veritas it has been my privilege to get to know many carers and there is no question that Maureen embodies the Veritas values of collaboration, authenticity and relationships, and is thoroughly deserving of this award.” 

The Award was presented at one of two Veritas House Foster Care Week Awards ceremonies held in Bathurst and Orange, and which also saw nine Foster Carers presented with 5, 10, 15 and 20 year service awards acknowledging their dedication and contribution to children and young people. The Foster Care Week ceremonies coincide with the launch of the biggest advertising campaign ever conducted by Veritas House urging residents to consider becoming Foster Carers, featuring advertising on buses, in shopping centres and on billboards across the region. 

Anyone considering becoming a foster carer must be over 18, an Australian citizen or permanent resident, in good health and without a criminal record. Carers can be single, married, in a de-facto or in a same sex relationship.   

For more information on becoming a Foster Carer with Veritas House, call 6332 3882 or visit 

Next week is Foster Care Week and Veritas House will celebrate with a range of activities recognising the significant contribution local Foster Carers make to the lives of vulnerable children and young people and to encourage local residents to consider becoming a Carer.  

 A highlight will include the announcement of the ‘Deb Elsley Memorial Award’, recognising one exceptional Carer who displays the Veritas House organisational values of relationships, collaboration, compassion and authenticity. It will also see nine carers receiving service awards for achieving 5, 10, 15 and 20 year milestones.  

According to Veritas House Permanency Support Program Operations Manager, Toneya Carr-Smith, the awards are designed to acknowledge the significant contribution local Foster Carers make in providing a safe and supportive home environment for children in Out of Home Care.  

“Our Foster Carers play a critical role in assisting children and young people in their care to grow and develop in a happy and heathy way and we are excited about the opportunity to honour and celebrate the contribution they make to our region,” said Toneya.  

Almost 80 households in the Central West are authorised Foster Carers with Veritas House, providing positive family environments for over 90 children and young people. However, Veritas is in need of more Foster Carers and will be launching an advertising campaign to coincide with Foster Care Week designed to encourage local residents to consider becoming carers.  

“We will have advertising on buses, in shopping centres and on billboards across the region and hope our Foster Care Week activities celebrate the contribution our Carers make to the lives of children and young people in our community and are also the first step towards becoming a Carer for other people in our community,” said Toneya.  

Anyone considering becoming a foster carer must be over 18, an Australian citizen or permanent resident, in good health and without a criminal record. Carers can be single, married, in a de-facto or in a same sex relationship.   

For more information on becoming a Foster Carer with Veritas House, call 6332 3882 or visit 

Following more than three years of fundraising, local youth service Veritas House has purchased a two-bedroom flat which will be used to support local young people transitioning from homelessness to living independently. 

Veritas House launched its fundraising appeal in December 2018 in response to a desperate shortage of affordable properties available to support vulnerable young people in the Orange region. Despite rising property prices and fires, floods and Covid impacting fundraising efforts during this time, strong community support has helped raise more than $280,000 to enable the property purchase. 

According to Veritas House CEO, Jody Pearce, while a further $40,000 is still needed to own the property outright, the critical need meant that Veritas could not delay purchasing a suitable property. 

“This is an incredibly exciting milestone for Veritas House and could not have been possible without the overwhelming support of businesses, individuals and community groups who have supported our fundraising appeal over the past three years,” said Jody.   

Veritas House reports that an average of 50 young people access crisis accommodation at their youth refuge in Orange each year, many of whom are unable to return safely to their homes. For these young people, it can be difficult to secure a lease in the private rental market with no prior rental history and limited finances.  

The newly purchased property will be leased for six to nine months to young people transitioning into independence, with case workers providing support to obtain furniture, secure ongoing income, and learn budget and tenancy management skills. At the end of their lease, Veritas will provide a reference, and advocate and support the young people in securing long-term accommodation.   

“The fundraising appeal kicked off in late 2018 when the Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation committed $60,000 towards the renovation of a property,” said Jody.  

“Now that we have raised sufficient funds to make a purchase, the Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation’s grant will be used over the next few months to paint, re-carpet, install energy-efficient lighting and heating, and furnish the flat to make it a comfortable home for young people for years to come. 

“The Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation grant is one of the largest that Veritas House has ever received, and we are so grateful that they recognised the value of this community project right from the start. We can now honour their commitment by making the property one that young people will be proud to maintain and call home.”  

Tax deductible donations to the Veritas House Transitional Housing Appeal can be made at: 

Local homelessness services Wattle Tree House, Veritas House and Housing Plus will host a free BBQ in Kings Parade on Friday, August 5 from 12noon as part of a number of activities taking place throughout the week to mark Homelessness Week. 

The event is designed as an opportunity for vulnerable residents to receive a free meal and learn about the services that are available, and for the wider community to have a conversation with agencies about what can be done locally to address homelessness. 

According to Wattle Tree House Client Service Officer, Sam Galliotas homelessness is not just a big city issue, with ABS data estimating that more than 10,000 people are experiencing homelessness in regional and rural NSW. 

“With housing prices skyrocketing and a lack of affordable rental homes, vulnerable people of all ages in communities like Bathurst are at increasing risk of homelessness,” said Sam. “Most are hidden from view through couch surfing and sleeping in cars, so it is easy to assume it doesn’t exist in a town like Bathurst, but that is not the case,” she explained. 

In addition to displays by the homelessness services, information packs will also be available from the Bathurst Library who have launched their ‘No Fixed Address Membership’ initiative during Homelessness Week, which includes the availability of library memberships for people who have no fixed address so they can still borrow resources and use the library facilities. 

Sam believes Homelessness Week is the chance for local residents to become aware of how to support a vulnerable person who may be at risk of homelessness.  

“We’re encouraging Bathurst residents to make themselves aware of local services like Wattle Tree House, Veritas House, Housing Plus and the Bathurst Library, so that any vulnerable person experiencing or at risk of homelessness can be connected to the services and supports they need. Our BBQ lunch will be a great opportunity to get this information and to have a conversation about what can be done to address the issue,” she said. 

Other local events and activities taking place throughout Homelessness Week include an information display at the Armada shopping centre, a free BBQ at Oberon and Harvest Café & Store will be selling cupcakes and raffle tickets all week as well as donating $1 from every hot drink sold this Friday towards StreetSmart Australia, a national charity that has supported Veritas House and other local homelessness services over recent years. 

The Homelessness Week BBQ has been supported by a range of organisations including Devro, Bernardi’s IGA, Bathurst Real Estate, Bunnings Bathurst, HopeCare, PFD Food Services, Country Fruit, Coles Bathurst, Barkers Butchery Oberon, Oberon Newsagency, Pick of The Bunch Oberon, Oberon Bakehouse, Lifeline, Mary McKillop, Bathurst Uniting Support Services, Mawhoods IGA Oberon and Swirl & Dip. 

Almost 400 people attended the Veritas House Winter Ball at Bathurst Goldfields on Saturday night 25th June, and raised an incredible $60,000 to support transitional housing for young people experiencing homelessness in our region. Our black-tie event was held to celebrate our 40th anniversary of supporting children, young people and their families, and we could not be happier with the result!

It’s has been 18 months in the making, but it was absolutely worth the wait. We wanted to create a special night where we could pay tribute to this milestone for our agency and to raise much-needed funding for transitional youth housing, but we never dreamed of raising such a significant amount and have been blown away by the generosity of our supporters! We would like to acknowledge in particular local businesses who sponsored the event, including VERTO, Peak Connect, Bathurst RSL Club and Bathurst Goldfields. On the back of Covid, fires, floods and drought, it has been a tough time for local businesses, so we are incredibly grateful to have had the financial and in-kind support of so many local businesses.

Access to affordable housing in our local region continues to be the greatest barrier for the young people we support, and so we will utilise the proceeds from this event to provide accommodation to young people transitioning from homelessness to independence. Veritas House owns one transitional property in Bathurst and has recently purchased one in Orange, but this is not enough to assist the large number of young people we support to move from homelessness to independence each year. Our goal is to have additional properties in the years to come and the funds raised from our Winter Ball will assist us to realise this goal.

Thank you again to everyone who attended, donated to or otherwise supported the Winter Ball 2022.


Tickets on Sale Now: Veritas House Winter Ball 2022

The Veritas House Winter Ball is set to go ahead! After being postponed last year due to a clash with the Bathurst 1000, we are pleased to be bringing the event to life on Saturday 25th June, 2022.

Corporate services manager Narelle Stocks said it’s exciting that the ball can finally be held. “We were disappointed we couldn’t go ahead last year but I think it’s really added to the excitement, that we can finally plan for and hold a proper celebration for such a significant milestone,” she said. “When we came up with the idea, we were thinking back on the last 40 years and balls were really big in Bathurst years ago. Everyone would go to the Bathurst 1000 ball and that was a big day on the calendar, so we thought there was a bit of a gap in Bathurst. We held a Winter Wonderland Ball for Veritas House’s 30th anniversary, so it seemed appropriate to do one again this year. We’re hoping it can be one of those events that people really look forward to, to dress up and celebrate during winter.”

All proceeds from the ball will go towards our Transitional Youth Housing Appeal, aiming to provide accommodation to young people moving from homelessness to independence.

Apprenticeships, training and employment services agency VERTO will remain as the platinum sponsor for the ball, given the shared values between our two not-for-profit organisations. Sponsorship commitments have also been made by Peak Connect, Bathurst RSL and host venue Bathurst Goldfields (gold sponsor), as well as Raine and Horne Bathurst, The Persuader, Bathurst Regional Security, and Greer Films (silver sponsors).

Tickets are $125 per head with tables of 10 available. Tickets include a glass of wine, three-course dinner and live music.

For tickets, visit or call us on 6332 3882.

This week, Veritas House staff were eager to learn how we can better help children and young people handle stress in constructive ways, to de-escalate and prevent potential crises from occurring. The group spent 4-days completing Therapeutic Crisis Intervention training with our in-house training facilitators, Bronte and Peter; the first of many groups we’ll see completing the TCI training here at Veritas House.

TCI has two goals of crisis intervention:

  1. Support young people by providing immediate emotional and environmental support to reduce stress and risk and increase the young person’s sense of safety; and
  2. Teach young people by helping them learn and practice ways to regulate their emotions and behaviours.

A big thank you to Ben and Brad from TACT Tailored Training Courses for sharing their amazing TCI knowledge and skills with Bronte and Peter last year, and helping Veritas House take our support to children and young people to another level.

Staff Complete TCI Training

The offices of Veritas House will be closed on the following public holidays: Monday 27th, Tuesday 28th December 2021 and Monday 3rd January 2022. If you need help or support on these days from Veritas House staff, please contact either the Youth Refuge in Bathurst on 0407 188 877 or the Youth Refuge in Orange on 0417 657 232.

From Wednesday 29th to Friday 31st of December, limited staff will be working weekdays from each office. If you need assistance from Veritas House staff during this time, please contact 1300 01 1973.


If you need urgent help or support throughout the festive period, please call one of the following services:

  • link2home Homelessness Line on 1800 152 152
  • Child Protection Helpline on 132 111
  • Lifeline on 13 11 14
  • Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800


We wish you a happy and safe Christmas and New Year.