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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.