Empowering women and children to make informed choices

Empowering women and children to make informed choices

“We provide a unique, holistic women-centred preventative and treatment approach to health and well-being. We empower women and children of all ages, cultures, sexual orientation and gender identity to make informed choices throughout their lives.” Central West Women’s Health Centre


CWWHC, Bathurst, is a non-government charity run by women who create and provide unique services to women, children, and young people as the creed above promises, and helps them make good life decisions. Whilst based in Bathurst, they provide support to the Central West and have clients from Blayney, Molong, Orange and Lithgow.

Karen Boyde has been the Centre Manager for five years and enjoys her complex role. “I don’t have a therapeutic background; however, I have experience in community development and community service delivery. We have built a professional all female Board of Governance and created a safe and positive culture building the Centre footprint by increasing funding through winning grant writing, from a variety of Government and philanthropic sources.”

It was initially established in 1986 thanks to a proactive team of Bathurst feminists. The Centre has grown from having four female staff and four board members when Karen first commenced in 2019, to now having committed governance with a solid team of professionals forming a successful, small non-government organisation.

Services for all situations

“We’ve got the very best therapists here and our staff are representative of women in the community,” Karen said. “Our staff consist of women who identify as aboriginal, the LGBTIQA+ community, and older and younger women (our child adolescent trauma psychologist is 25). So, we are a diverse team – and I’m really proud that we’ve got the expertise that’s needed here by our clients.”

CWWHC provides generalist counseling, child and adolescent trauma counseling, health promotion and education, Victims Services counseling, clinical referrals and case management. Counseling for families involves ‘together’ and ‘separate’ sessions for parents who see the Family Clinician and are encouraged to take part to ensure successful outcomes for their children as they engage in therapy.

Most services are provided in-house however phone support is offered in certain circumstances, and more services are in the pipeline for remote clients due to an ever-growing demand.

Funding for school-age and individuals

The centre receives some government funding from the NSW Ministry of Health and Department of Communities and Justice, but Karen’s success in attracting further grants to the organisation, including a Westpac Scale Grant – safer children, safer community fund, NSW Government Regional Youth Investment Program grant over three years, and these funds provide for group activities and events for children and young people and importantly, more individual counseling for children.

“We’ve also recently secured a 12-month contract from the Department of Communities and Justice to deliver Responses Matter, an educational program designed to better equip community groups and first responders to appropriately respond to and support individuals disclosing sexual assault,” she said.

“Additional funding has also helped the centre expand the broad range of help we can deliver, including sending one of our counsellors one day a week into Kelso High School. And the St George Foundation to provide group support to children at Kelso Public through team-building skills, health promotion, resilience-building activities and emotion-regulation through play and movement outdoors. It’s been of great advantage to go where children and parents are, rather than asking them to come the Centre during the day or after school hours.”

Weekly support groups and vocational options

CWWHC programs are many and varied: in-house ‘mothers and daughters’ education; menopause workshops; craft days; yoga classes; a walking group, Wellness Garden Group learning to grow veggies; and even lines up barista training for interested young mums – all in a safe environment. Young mums under 25-years and their babies are also welcome at the weekly Mums and Bubs class where they can learn mothering skills while making new friends. But sadly, their core business remains in providing support to women experiencing domestic and family violence including sexual assault.

A uniquely free service

An upfront relief comes to clients learning many of these services are free of charge, including the child and adolescent trauma counselling – and this is what makes CWWHC unique to other organisations.

Whilst their books are frequently closed while at capacity, and their wait lists also have to close at times, CWWHC can often secure extra funding to provide group support as a way of getting children help that they need while they might be waiting for their individual counselling.

“We’re always looking for funding to provide our services. That’s where the greatest need is for children. For our generalist counselling, we charge $25, $10 or nothing – no woman is ever turned away for her inability to pay. And in the last 12 months with the rise in cost of living all our group activities are free,” Karen added.

Sharing the Community Load Together

CWWHC is one of about 20 individual women’s health centres across New South Wales, under the peak body Women’s Health New South Wales. “I’m on the board and we lobby hard to put together solid business cases for funding for them. Costs have increased by two thirds in the five years I’ve been here, so services like ours struggle to meet demand and we rely on supporters like the Department of Communities and Justice and NSW Health for major funding, and donations from generous individuals and groups such as Bathurst clubs including Bathurst Quota, and CWA who provide funding to purchase $50 Woolworths vouchers for staples for women doing it tough, to keep going.

In return, the CWWHC staff are found volunteering their time for these groups, which means they are supporting the centre within their community.

“We are helping our vulnerable women and children in many ways,” Karen said. “We’re here for all women – from all backgrounds. There is no judgment; and no referral is needed; and we can refer women for clinical services. Predominantly, we’re here for the most disenfranchised women but we are seeing growing complexity in the presentations of women, children and young people. “We strive to create as much of a buffer as possible between comfort and discomfort.”

Book now – no referral required

For appointments and information, simply contact the CWWHC reception. They’ll advise about wait-lists, provide information about courses and workshops and alternative referral pathways such as Relationships Australia, Headspace, Lifeline and CentaCare.


7 Lee Street
Kelso, NSW, 2795

Phone: 02 6331 4133
Fax: 02 6332 4310
Email: reception@cwwhc.org.au

Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday
9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (Closed 12:30-1:30pm daily for lunch) Closed Saturday, Sunday

Website: click here

If you are deaf, or have a hearing impairment or speech impairment, contact the Central West Women’s Health Centre on 02 6331 4133 through the National Relay Service.

  • TTY : 133 677
  • Speak and Listen: 1300 555 727
  • Internet relay users : connect to the National Relay Service
  • video relay users: choose the available NRS video relay contact on Skype and ask for 02 6331 4133
  • SMS relay users phone 0423 677 767 and ask for 02 6331 4133


Funded by the NSW Ministry of Health, Department of Communities and Justice, Westpac Scale Grant – Safer Children, safer communities, Regional Youth Investment Program and St. George Foundation.

Supported by Bowman Dental, Cleary Fairbrother Property, Country Women’s Association NSW – Bathurst Evening Branch, 2bs Gold and B-Rock FM, SMCE local radio, Western Advocate, Central West Village Voice, Bathurst Bunnings, Australia Post, Lions Club of Mount Panorama, Support the Girls,  Share the Dignity and Buddy Bags.

Diana Smith

I'm an Orange-based photographer, writer, face painter and book designer. I enjoy meeting the lovely folk of our community and have been involved in publishing/media/comms for about 15 years. I have done several exhibitions and in 2022 published my own childrens story, 'The Mouses Houses.'

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