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Housing Plus is committed to ensuring women and children experiencing domestic and family violence in Orange have access to accommodation and support to help keep them safe in their community.

In November 2020 we held the official opening of The Orchard.

The Orchard is many things.

First and foremost, it is a safe haven for women and children escaping domestic violence. It is purpose built using trauma informed design. We have listened to the ideas and suggestions of victims, our local key stakeholders, our staff and our local Aboriginal Elders in developing this design. Security and safety is paramount and have been built in from the very beginning. Apartments face one another, CCTV surveillance surrounds the property, security lighting and staffing 24/7 are just some of the security features.

But The Orchard is of course more than just bricks and mortar; it is fundamentally about people.

The Orchard will provide a safe and supported environment for victims to recover. An environment that starts with safe, trauma-informed physical design and is complemented by a service delivery model that provides intensive support when it is needed most and a lighter touch when recovery begins. Support will be personalised and brought into The Orchard. As victims recover, they will have a base to return to and receive education and support.

There are 6, 2-bedroom apartments, which are arranged in duplexes and are designed and equipped for families. . The design of the apartments provides flexibility for larger families with interlocking doors that also enable the duplex to become a 1 bedroom and 3-bedroom apartment or one large 4-bedroom apartment. Apartments are modern and open plan with private backyards and access to larger outdoor spaces, including a dedicated sensory playground for children.

The core has been designed to meet all the needs of women and children and includes consulting rooms, audio-visual equipment for court appearances, a wellness retreat to improve wellbeing and prepare for court or other appointments, multifunctional counselling rooms, a study, crèche, kitchen with dual appliances for cookery demonstrations, BBQ area and a healing room for Aboriginal women to make their own.

We have created all this because our women and children deserve to have a wonderful place to recover and to feel safe.

Our years of awareness raising in the Orange community means we now have a bank of volunteers and community groups who will contribute to the ongoing running of The Orchard. This may be running the wellness retreat, providing cookery demonstrations, leading exercise and meditation sessions, art classes, gardening or providing individual mentoring. Our model connects women to the community and demonstrates to them that they are part of something larger; that the community has their back.

The Orchard has been funded in broadly equal amounts by the Commonwealth Government, NSW Government and local fundraising by community groups, businesses, schools and individuals. This project demonstrates the strength of co-funding and how different sectors of the community can come together to help end domestic violence for women and children.

The Orchard is a labour of love for our team and one that will continue to evolve and grow alongside the women and children we support.

Link to a referral form for Housing Plus Domestic Violence Services

What does The Orchard look like?

Unlike a traditional communal refuge, which can re-traumatise victims, The Orchard is based on a ‘core and cluster’ model. Independent units offer families greater privacy to recover from the violence and re-establish their routines, whilst onsite services ensure women and children have access to support to overcome the trauma and move forward in a positive way. This video has been created to give you a better understanding of how The Orchard will complement the neighbourhood (indicative design only).

The design includes:

  • A ‘cluster’ of three duplex buildings, each containing two two-bedroom villas (six units in total). These will be fully enclosed and set in landscaped gardens.
  • A ‘core’ comprising meeting rooms, communal facilities, a crèche and overnight accommodation for one member of staff.

How will The Orchard benefit the community?

The Orchard will:

  • Provide a safe and culturally appropriate space for around 72 families from Orange each year.
  • Keep women and children in their community, near schools, employment and supportive family, contributing to a faster recovery from the trauma.
  • Increase community volunteering by involving community groups, schools, businesses and individuals in providing a safe and supportive environment that enables women to feel part of, and not isolated from, the community. More information about volunteering opportunities to come.

How can I help?

To make a donation to The Orchard, CLICK HERE

If you are interested in fundraising for The Orchard, telephone Rochelle Monaghan, Marketing and Fundraising Coordinator, on 1800 603 300.

For all other enquiries regarding The Orchard, contact