Compass Connect Funding

Compass Connect Funding

People, Place, Performance (PPP) is our approach to tenancy and asset management. In 2012, under the PPP banner, the Board determined the allocation of special purpose funding for place making.

The availability of funding was offered to our tenants through a tender process for projects run by tenant groups and branches for activities that promoted “place based initiatives”, tenant engagement and participation in the community. These projects are assessed against a criterion that projects must demonstrate the enhancement of people, place and performance (of assets).

Compass Tenancy Relations Support Officers are available to assist our tenants with completing the application requirements to ensure equitable access. This funding has led to the activation of many shared spaces, skills based initiatives for tenants and community inclusion activities.

Projects include establishment of community gardens; fencing and gates; a community clean-up project; a BBQ area & garden; internet café/computer training courses; outdoor seating area; and solar security and lighting.

As well as providing the start up funding for ongoing projects such as the Red Door Community Kitchen at Muswellbrook; The Shack Shop at the Meeting Place, which provides access to affordable groceries and fruit and vegetables; upgrade and refurbishment of the community room at our homelessness project site, This Way Home.

We are so excited about the outcomes from these projects, the following stories are just a few examples of what our tenants have achieved under Compass Connect Funding.

Maree's Fresh Idea

In 2013, Maree approached Compass with an idea for a community garden to bring the tenants in her complex together. Compass jumped at the opportunity and now the garden has flourished fruit, vegetables, flowers and new friendships.
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Maree had noticed a lack of connection between the tenants in her Compass complex, with many of the residents struggling with loneliness and the day-to-day pressures of life.

She sat on her balcony one day, looked at the grass below and dreamt of a flourishing veggie garden that would bring them together.

When Maree found out about the Compass Connect funding she put pen to paper. Maree, an avid gardener herself, approached Compass with the idea to establish a community garden. She believed that the project would bring together the tenants and help forge new friendships.

Compass jumped at the opportunity to make this dream come to life. Now tenants in Maree's building enjoy the community garden together, blossoming and growing as people just as the garden blooms around them.

Maree said "The complex now has a dream garden - how many people have a garden like this! Thanks to Compass it has become a reality for me ... at least half of the tenants here have taken advantage of the veggies growing. I'm just really enjoying what it is doing here with the community - people had been here for two years and hadn't said hello to other people and didn't even know their names - now people are starting to meet each other in the garden here and now we say hello and know who they are.”

Avery Street Community Garden

In 2012, a group of motivated Compass tenants suggested an initiative in the belief that a community project could bring the residents of their complex together.
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These tenants had an idea – to build a community garden that would provide all residents the opportunity to socialise with each another, as well as enjoy the fresh fruit and vegetables that the garden would deliver.

Before this project, the residents of Avery Street were often bored and found it hard to connect with one another. The complex contained a mixture of Compass and Housing NSW tenants.

Excited about the possibilities for their complex, these residents approached staff at The Meeting Place to discuss their idea for a community garden.

Compass Tenancy Support Officer on the Central Coast, Joanne McGuire, began meeting with the residents each month to discuss their ideas to strengthen the spirit of the community.

The residents of both Compass and Housing NSW worked together as a volunteer team to plan the project, and decided to take on the responsibility of maintaining the garden once it was established. It was at this point that as a group, they submitted a grant application under the Compass Connect Project.

Joanne McGuire said “that when visiting the tenants of the complex at this time, it seemed that their spirit has come alive”. After numerous meetings with tenants and Housing NSW, everybody was excited at the prospect of working together to make their dream of a community garden a reality.

Through the guidance of Compass staff, volunteers and residents of the Avery Street Complex, the Community Garden has now become a reality.

For Compass the most satisfying part of the project is how the residents have now taken complete ownership of the project. We are truly excited to see that they regularly tend to the garden, and purchase mulch, fertiliser and look after it with tender loving care. The residents are enjoying their new ‘hobby’ and very grateful to Compass for giving the residents the opportunity to promote social inclusion through this project.

These residents and their families showed how a commitment and sense of pride can bring a community together.

Red Door Kitchen

The Red Door Kitchen in Muswellbrook provides an opportunity for people who are socially isolated to engage with the wider community, make new friends, access support services and enjoy a hot nutritious meal every fortnight.
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The kitchen first opened it’s doors on Christmas Day 2013 to provide a traditional lunch and companionship to those in the community who were on their own, or unable to provide a Christmas dinner for their family.

It now delivers a fortnightly service providing a free nutritious hot lunch for those in need, and is known as a place of community inclusion, where people can share a meal and enjoy companionship.

The kitchen needed an overhaul and essential electrical items were needed to establish and maintain the service. An application was submitted for funding under Compass Connect to undertake the refurbishment and funding of approximately $5,500 was provided enabling the service to continue to deliver much needed meals and connection of community.

Compass is passionate about engaging our tenants with the wider community and the Red Door Kitchen is a valuable resource in achieving this. Not only does the Red Door Kitchen provide a delicious and nutritious meal, more importantly it provides an opportunity for people who are socially isolated to engage with the wider community, make new friends and engage support services - an opportunity which would not be available in their everyday life.

The kitchen was originally driven by Upper Hunter Community Services, Compass Housing, The Uniting Church and the Muswellbrook Men’s Shed. The Muswellbrook RSL Club were one of the first community partners, providing much needed support to get those first meals on the table, and sponsored the banner that flies on open days.

The list of community partners is now extensive and includes Woolworths, Tuckerbox Catering, Farm Fresh Meats Muswellbrook, Valley Roller Girls, La Luna Café, St Helliers Correctional Centre, Scone Grammar School, Muswellbrook High School and the Muswellbrook Lioness Club.

The local community have also shown their generosity by volunteering and donating non-perishable food pantry items, and basics such as rice and pasta.

The kitchen is now known as a place of community inclusion, where people can share a meal and enjoy companionship, lessening social isolation.

Community Artwork Initiative

Compass Connect awarded funding to a group of enthusiastic Muswellbrook tenants for their contribution towards restoring the character of the Hunter Park Community Centre.
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A group of Compass tenants in the Muswellbrook area took up an initiative through the Compass Connect Project funding to create a permanent art design to assist in restoring some of Hunter Park and to hold a fun activity for the children in the area during summer school holidays in 2014.

The artwork represents a strong message based on ‘hands’ to represent working together and feet to represent walking and an understanding of one another.

The project has given local residents a sense of pride of their own achievement, after the only playground in the middle of the housing estate and attached to the Hunter Park Family Centre was affected by fire back in 2012. At the time of the project application there had been no improvements made to the park since the fire. The park is a central park to residences, and is a place where the community comes together.

Special thanks to the Upper Hunter Community Services who donated food for the Art project working days and who are responsible for ongoing maintenance of the project, Leanne Ward, a local artist who donated her time in preparing mosaic tiles, the Muswellbrook Men’s shed and the tenants who volunteered. 

Compass Muswellbrook has been working in conjunction with the community members of Muswellbrook Shire Council about improvements to the Muswellbrook South Estate for some time. 

Dangar Park Rose Garden

The Dangar Park Rose Garden project in Aberdeen was an immense success bringing Compass staff and tenants together with students and staff from St Joseph's School, local community groups and members of the wider community.
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The project consisted of a new covered picnic table, featuring an Aberdeen themed mosaic, designed and created by local St Joseph’s School; as well as the addition of a rainwater tank that was added to the park.

This idea was conceived by a Compass tenant group and was assisted by Melinda White, Upper Hunter Community Development Officer.

The project was a real community effort with the Upper Hunter Shire Council providing the concrete slabs for the table and tank, as well as the Lions Club of Aberdeen constructing the table, chairs and picnic area cover, all of which was funded through the Compass Connect program.

An official opening was organised at the completion of the project with Compass hosting a BBQ lunch in the park and speeches from key persons involved in the project. The opening also included a workshop on the design and construction of the mosaic by Deb Serhan from St Joseph’s School.

The event was a great success with a healthy number of community members, representatives from the local Council, St Joseph’s school, Compass staff and tenants, the Lions Club and several representatives from local media outlets.