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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 veritashouse.org.au/events/winter-ball-2022 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.

Veritas House was proud to unveil newly commissioned artworks by three local young artists, showcasing their talents alongside the Brett Whiteley exhibition at the Bathurst Regional Art Gallery. 

Earlier this year, the ‘Veritas Art Project’ was launched to coincide with Youth Week and to mark our forty-year history of supporting children, young people and their families in the region. Expressions of Interest were received from young people aged 12-25 living in Bathurst, Orange and surrounding areas, with the successful artists selected by a committee to have their work formally commissioned. The project was designed to celebrate and nurture artistic talent, as each young person was matched to a local established artist who provided mentoring sessions to support the creation of the artworks. Following the exhibit, the artworks will be installed at the Veritas House centres in Bathurst and Orange, for the enjoyment of local young people accessing the agency’s services for years to come. 

The Veritas Art Project was made possible by a grant provide by Arts OutWest and through sponsorship by Bathurst Regional Art Gallery, Officeworks Bathurst and Pigments and Palettes; and was also supported by both the Orange Youth Action Council and the Bathurst Youth Council. 

Pictured (L – R): VERTO employment services team leader Chris Harrison, Veritas House senior practitioner Heather Johnston and CEO Jody Pearce.

Apprenticeships, training and employment services agency VERTO has come on board as platinum sponsor for the Winter Wonderland Ball, being held on 28th of August.

VERTO is a not-for-profit organisation assisting businesses and individuals with all their apprenticeship, employment and training needs.

VERTO’s expertise covers a range of areas including Aboriginal services, Australian apprenticeships services, disability services, employment services and vocational training to help businesses, individuals and local industry to thrive.

CEO Ron Maxwell said VERTO was thrilled to come on board as platinum sponsor of the Veritas House Winter Wonderland Ball to be held in Bathurst on Saturday, August 28.

“Our mission is to positively impact the lives of individuals and communities and this aligns very much with Veritas House – who provide vitally important services to children, young people, families and foster carers in Bathurst and the Central West,” he said.

“This year’s Winter Wonderland Ball is a true celebration of the outstanding work Veritas House has done in our local community for four decades.

“Not only is VERTO honoured to be platinum sponsors of the event, we’re very excited to provide $3,000 worth of prizes for the Winter Wonderland Ball auction and raffles, which we hope will help raise vitally important funds for Veritas House to help them continue to provide life-changing services in our local community.”

This year marks 40 years since we first opened our doors, providing accommodation through the Bathurst youth refuge to 100 young people experiencing homelessness in our first year alone. The Emerge refuge, formerly the Orange & District Youth Refuge, then become part of Veritas House in 2014, having moved from Lucknow to its current Orange location in 2007.

Four decades on, our commitment to caring for the region’s most vulnerable continues, as we provide accommodation and support services to more than 800 vulnerable children, young people and their families across the Central West each year.

To celebrate the impact our dedicated staff have made throughout this time, two commemorative trees were recently planted – a Snow Gum in Bathurst and an Acacia Blackwood in Orange – that will live alongside residents at each Youth Refuge. We were honored to be joined in Bathurst by the Hon. Paul Toole, Minister for Regional Transport and Roads and Member for Bathurst, and Bobby Bourke, Mayor of Bathurst.

In Orange our thanks goes to Mayor Reg Kidd, for helping Geoff Hastings, Veritas House Chairperson, and Jody Pearce CEO plant the commemorative tree and for the continued support, “It’s very important that we as a community are involved, and we put our heart and soul into it – from a personal point of view and a council point of view we support it 500 percent, and we always will,” said the Mayor.

Veritas House’s CEO, Jody Pearce, acknowledged the milestone this represents for Veritas, “It’s a special time for Veritas House because there’s been many, many people that have contributed to Veritas over the years,” she said. “It’s about acknowledging their contribution and their resilience. It’s amazing that the young people that came through these houses have gone on to do some great things. It’s a privilege to work with the young people, it’s a privilege to see their courage and resilience to come through adversity. It’s a privilege to work with a team that’s really committed to child protection and ending youth homelessness.”

These trees will serve as a reminder of our foundational roots in the local community and our ongoing commitment to providing shelter for generations to come.

Watch Prime News’ coverage of the Tree Planting Ceremonies here.

Pictured (L – R): Veritas Chair, Geoff Hastings, Libby Sinclair, Narelle Stocks, Mayor Bobby Bourke, Veritas CEO, Jody Pearce, Member for Bathurst, Paul Toole and Alanna Dixon and Sharon Jones from Veritas.

We are pleased to be celebrating alongside Heather and Kate from the Veritas House team, who have both completed the Professional Diploma in Therapeutic Life Story Work,  which has given them the opportunity to gain skills in how best to gather the stories of the children and young people we work with.

Heather explains, “The Diploma has given us the tools that we need to work with young people to put together the jigsaw that is their life. The pieces of the jigsaw are made up of conversations with parents, siblings, carers, child protection workers, health workers, police and educators.”

Having both completed the diploma, Heather and Kate are now in a position to work with young people and their carers in a way that helps to establish the young person in their placement, helps the carer/s to better understand and therapeutically manage the young person and perhaps most importantly helps the young person to know who they are and to be confident and accepting of themselves.

“It is difficult to grow up as a psychologically healthy adult if one is denied access to one’s own history.” (Vera Fahlberg, 2008)

Veritas House has launched a new service improvement process focused on the quality of supports delivered to vulnerable children, young people and families.  

This will involve the organisation seeking certification of its Specialist Homelessness Services against the Australian Service Excellence Standards (ASES). Certification requires providers like Veritas House to self-assess current practices against the Standards; identify the actions it needs to take to meet the Standards and take the necessary actions; and engage with an ASES assessor who will visit Veritas offices and accommodation settings to talk with service users and staff and to assure themselves that Veritas is complying with the Standards.    

Veritas House CEO, Jody Pearce says that the process will help Veritas to highlight and celebrate the things staff already do well.  

“We’re confident that the services we provide make a real impact on helping children, young people and families in our local communities to thrive,” she said. “ASES is a tool which will help us gather the evidence to prove this.”  

Ms Pearce emphasised that the process is also an opportunity to review what can be improved and because it is a continuing process – certification needs to be renewed every three years – it will help the organisation build a culture focused on continuous improvement.   

“Just because we’re proud of what we do, doesn’t mean we want to risk becoming complacent about that quality,” she said. “ASES is a way in which we can keep testing that confidence so that we can find ways to keep delivering the highest quality services, as we have done for almost 40 years.”  

Assessment is a requirement of all Specialist Homelessness Services across NSW and Veritas’ funding partner, the NSW Department of Communities and Justice. The process will involve staff, management, the Board and other stakeholders (including service users and their families) through to the end of 2021 when the on-site assessment visit is scheduled to occur. 

For more information on Veritas’ preparation for the ASES Assessment and Certification, please contact John, our Operational Compliance Officer on 1300 01 1973. 

Local Foster Carers, Billie Henderson and Mark Mason have been announced recipients of the Deb Elsley Memorial Award as part of the Veritas House Foster Care Week celebrations.

The award acknowledges the significant contribution that Billie and Mark have made in providing a safe and supportive home environment to some 17 children and young people over the past six years, assisting them to grow and develop in a happy and healthy way.

According to Veritas Carer Support Practitioner, Bridget Tracy, in addition to being compassionate carers, Billie and Mark work hard to support other local foster carers, particularly new carers and those experiencing hardship, and have provided advice and guidance to Veritas House on policies and procedures to support the broader carer network.

“Billie has assisted Veritas in the delivery of Shared Lives training to carer applicants in the past year and her reflections on the challenges they have faced, along with the incredible rewards has both informed and inspired applicants,” said Bridget.

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

Billie and Mark started their journey as foster carers while living in the Gulf of Carpentaria, when they took a child into their care from a local family that was struggling and there were no local foster or kinship carers in the area. Working in isolation and without agency support, they became authorised foster carers for the boy who remains close to them today. They have continued to be carers wherever they have moved and have come to appreciate the importance of having an honest and open relationship with a foster care agency, like Veritas House.

“As a foster carer there are always lots of tears, but there are also always huge rewards, and that’s seeing a child safe, happy and healthy because of the love that you can provide them as a foster carer,” said Billie.

The Award was presented at the Veritas House Foster Care Week Awards ceremony and also saw six Foster Carers presented with 5 and 15 year service awards acknowledging their dedication and contribution to children and young people. The final event for the week will be a Foster Care information session delivered online on Thursday, 17 September commencing at 6.00pm. For more information or to register to attend, contact Lee Purcell on (02) 6332 3882.

The number of children and young people entering Out of Home Care in NSW has grown from 10,000 in 2006 to 18,000 in 2016 and Veritas is hopeful that local residents will attend the information session and consider becoming carers to help address the growing need. A wide range of Carers are required including respite – which can be as little as a weekend a month; emergency; long term; extended family or kin; guardianship and adoptive parents.

Veritas House is a not-for-profit organisation that was established in Bathurst almost 40 years ago and has grown to become one of the largest providers of foster care, youth homelessness and early intervention services in the region, supporting more than 800 children, young people and families each year.