Our Community

Compass is more than just a tenancy manager. We’re dedicated to making sure our tenants have a voice and are actively engaged in their communities. That’s why we place a strong emphasis on the delivery of  additional wraparound services and activities that help foster social inclusion and community development.

We understand that the best outcomes will be achieved through an integrated service, which understands and respects the people, place, potential, and possibilities for the potential clients of these projects.

These goals are realised through a variety of community development programs, some of which are highlighted here.

Compass provides a number of Tenant Participation and Community Projects.
These include:

  • Grow A Star
  • The Meeting Place
  • In The House
  • Compass in Vanuatu

Grow A Star


The Compass Grow a Star program empowers young people to reach their full potential in social, academic, sporting and musical pursuits by helping families overcome the financial
or generational challenges that prevent young people from following their dreams.

Since its launch in 2012 Grow a Star has provided financial assistance to 99 talented young people to help cover the costs of everything from school tutoring to swimming lessons.

This year Grow a Star expanded to include two $2000 scholarships specifically for Compass tenants. Applications were up by almost 100 per cent on the previous year with 47 talented youngsters receiving a share of almost $20,000.

Apart from the fantastic outcomes for the kids involved, perhaps the most impressive aspect of Grow a Star has been the extent to which the program continues to be supported by Compass employees. Staff sponsorship of the program was up by 600 per cent on the previous year which has been instrumental in helping more young people to chase their dreams.

Next year the program is set to expand its horizons even further. Earlier this year, Grow a Star was awarded a grant for $30,000 from the Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation. This funding will form a 2016 scholarship program with a focus on education, sport and the arts for young people who fit the Grow a Star criteria in the Hunter and
Central Coast regions.

The Meeting Place

The Shack Shop opened for business in February 2015 & by the end of June had already registered 127 members & made 298 sales.


The Meeting Place is a community hub managed by Compass on the New South Wales Central Coast. It is a central place for the local community that offers local residents access to a range of outreach services and community development activities that boost social cohesion and participation. The Meeting Place and all services delivered there are accessible by not only Compass tenants but the broader community.

Since commencing operations in 2010, The Meeting Place has expanded the number of services on offer with the highlight this year being the introduction of the Shack Shop.

The Shack Shop aims to provide emergency relief and low cost goods to community members facing hardship. As well as providing emergency relief, the Shack Shop also serves to link customers, tenants, and community members with some of the great services and activities undertaken for the community at The Meeting Place.

The idea for the initiative was developed by members of our local tenancy team in response to funding reforms that resulted in the closure of a number of other neighbourhood centres and emergency relief outreach centres that had previously offered low cost goods.

The food is sourced from Foodbank New South Wales and kind donations from local businesses including Bakers Delight. The Shack Shop is completely operated by our Meeting Place volunteers, with all funds going straight back into further food purchases from Foodbank, making this program completely self-sufficient.

The Shack Shop opened for business in February 2015 and by the end of June had already registered 127 members and made 298 sales. Over the same period The Shack Shop provided several emergency food parcels to people in need.

The Shack is part of the Shack Shop which provides free lunch every Wednesday and free morning tea every Thursday and Friday for people in need.
As well providing free meals, the weekly lunches also serve as an opportunity for clients to engage with support workers from Partners in Recovery (a mental health support service) who are able to make referrals to their program or other local services on the spot. The Shack has also been a huge success with many local people volunteering for their community.

The past year has also seen the Meeting Place host a number of events including Christmas in July, complete with presents for the kids, and a Tongan cultural festival featuring Tongan songs, dancing and food. The Meeting Place also continues to promote social inclusion through social groups like the Sewing and Craft Group, and the Coffee Club which is run by the community, for the community. This year the Meeting Place also commenced offering very affordable fruit and vegetable boxes providing affordable healthy food options to the local community on a fortnightly basis.

In The House

In its first 12 months 'In the House' has produced some great outcomes including 48 tenants being referred to support agencies and 34 being referred to accredited training programs.

The ‘In the House’ program was designed by Compass' Tenancy Relations Support Coordinator, James Cameron as part of the overall strategy to combat anti-social behaviour issues and disengagement issues.

‘In the House’ was developed as an early intervention engagement practice and designed to complement the tenancy specialist model of customer service implemented by Compass throughout 2014. The program provides a facilitated environment where tenants are able to demonstrate an interest in different types of community engagement through artistic expression and/or by participating in discussions with Compass staff, the art facilitator, support providers and each other. Compass provides follows up referrals to tenants interested in accessing training, volunteering opportunities or necessary supports.

Originally conceived as a one off event, the success of the first session resulted in the initiative becoming an ongoing program, embedded within the support functions of Compass’ service delivery model in the Hunter region.

Sessions are held once a fortnight with each session aiming to encourage our tenants and neighbours to discuss the issues impacting their community and to break down the barriers of communication within a complex.

'In the House' events are facilitated by Shane Kennedy from Up and Up. Earlier this year Shane was named Youth Worker of the Year for his continued commitment to mentoring young people in the region.

In its first 12 months 'In the House' has produced some great outcomes including 48 tenants being referred to support agencies and 34 being referred to accredited training programs.

Compass in Vanuatu

Compass aspires to a world in which all people have access to safe and affordable housing and are engaged in their communities.

Compass aspires to a world in which all people have access to safe and affordable housing and are engaged in their communities. In pursuit of that goal Compass is intent on establishing an international presence in developed and developing countries alike.

The first step on this path was to identify Pacific Island locations where Compass’ model of service provision would be able to add value. As a result of this work, the island nation of Vanuatu was selected as the focus of Compass first international efforts and work began on identifying ways to assist with the delivery of shelter, education, vocational training and employment.

In the middle of this planning work, Compass’ role in Vanuatu got a little more “hands-on” sooner than expected as a result of the devastation wrought by Tropical Cyclone Pam, a category 5 storm that ripped through Vanuatu in March of this year exacerbating what were already unacceptably high levels of disadvantage, particularly in urban areas.

As the tiny island nation set about the massive clean-up task, Compass launched an emergency relief effort with partners Liberty for the Nations to determine what was needed and to transport donated items including food, clothing, cookware and bedding to people impacted by the tragedy.

As the nation rebuilds itself following its worst ever natural disaster, Compass staff are formulating plans for projects that will help disadvantaged communities gain easier access to early childhood education, vocational training and employment.

Working for the community

One of the best things about the Meeting Place is the family friendly philosophy of the place...

Maryanne Hawson is Compass’ Community Participation Officer responsible for coordinating the operations and services at The Meeting Place.

Since starting at the Meeting Place Maryanne has overseen an increase in attendance at community events and has been instrumental in establishing and maintaining relationships with key community groups.

Shellee's Story

It wasn’t that long ago that Shellee had hit rock bottom following a tumultuous past dotted with a trail of volatile relationships, substance abuse and teen homelessness.

A few short years with some help from the Compass Grow a Star program, she has been crowned the New South Wales Young Achiever for Leadership and Innovation thanks to her tireless work with the Shine program – an initiative that helps empower young women to overcome personal battles and sets them on the path to success.
“A few years ago, I didn’t want to get up and face the world - but now I wake up and think about how great my day is going to be,” Shellee said.
“My focus is on the personal growth that comes from the things that shake us and shape us in life, and I can now say I have a positive outlook for the future”.

I wanted to thank Compass for their support – particularly Shane for helping me in drafting my application, as well as James Cameron who has always believed in me.

Emily's Story

Emily is a determined young woman who is battling a number of physical and mental health issues. She is also a strong swimmer who dreams of competing at Olympics.

Grow a Star stepped in when Emily’s family was struggling to cover the costs of the squad training sessions.

“My favourite thing in the whole wide world is swimming. It makes me feel happy. I would like to swim in the Olympics and be a star, but I know I have to train very hard.

“We were going to drop swimming because of the cost, but Grow a Star helped us. That makes me feel happy and excited.”

Swimming has been of enormous benefit to Emily’s confidence and fitness and now, thanks to Grow a Star, her Olympic dream remains alive and well.


Zoe's Story

A talented athlete, Zoe is currently finishing Year 11 at Hunter Sports High School in their targeted sports program.

Earlier this year she was selected to represent the New South Wales Schoolgirls netball team at the Australian Championships and has been named on the Indigenous Women’s Aus-tag team which will compete in the world cup to be hosted on the Gold Coast in December 2015.

Through the Grow a Star program, Zoe was nominated for a Santos Indigenous Young Achievers Award where she was a top 10 finalist.

Sporting dreams aside Zoe is the President of her school’s Aboriginal Education Consultative Group and plans to study law at university.

Kaleb's Story

Kaleb started going to Rosie’s School of Rock as a way to help overcome his social anxiety and build self-confidence.

Grow a Star has helped me a lot to stay here. My family has had trouble with money. It really makes me happy to come here.”

Kaleb’s grandmother Carolyn said the School of Rock had been incredibly important to Kaleb as it was the one part of his life that was completely his own.

“Both Kaleb and his older brother live with autism. With his older brother being quite unwell, a lot of the family’s energy is focused on him,” Carolyn said.

“It was really important that Kaleb had something just for him, to make him the focus of attention.

“He has a love of music and Rosie's was the obvious place to come. Rosie's has helped develop Kaleb's confidence and his feeling of self-worth has improved. None of it would have been possible without the assistance of Grow a Star.”

Thanks to Grow a Star and Rosie’s School of Rock, Kaleb’s self-confidence has grown to the point that he has joined a band and is now comfortable performing in public.

I started out with group lessons then moved to one on one. I really liked the drums best because I’m shy and didn’t like being out in front.