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20 Aug 2021

Compass a finalist in 2021 Hunter Business Awards

Compass Housing Service is a three time finalist in the upcoming 2021 Hunter Business Awards.

The organisation is in the running for awards in the following categories:

  • Excellence in Community Enterprise
  • Excellence in Sustainability
  • Outstanding Employer of Choice

Group Managing Director Greg Budworth said the accolades are a credit to Compass’ highly skilled and professional team.

He said to be a finalist in three categories is a great achievement.

“The Compass team strive for excellence, not only in tenant support but in sustainability,” Greg said.

“We continue to evolve the way we deliver and manage housing to better meet the needs of tenants, community and funding bodies,” he said.

“We been successful in gaining Government contracts to deliver more housing and housing support, which also creates local jobs.”

“Our engagement activities, including our community hubs and gardens, are about making sure we do more than put a roof over people’s heads.”

Greg said Compass’ vision is that all people have appropriate and affordable shelter and are engaged in sustainable communities.

He said Compass has integrated the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into all its plans. It is working with other organisations to increase the use of the SDGs to address major environmental and social issues affecting communities.

“We focus on being an employer of choice so we can attract passionate and talented people to realise our vision.”

The annual Hunter Business Awards are presented by Business Hunter (formerly the Hunter Business Chamber).

Business Hunter CEO Bob Hawes said this year’s awards were the most contested yet in the 40 years they have been running. There are 72 finalists vying for awards across 14 categories, chosen from hundreds of entries.

The awards night is tentatively set for October 22, depending upon COVID-19 restrictions.


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05 Aug 2021

Compass Convenes Online Urban Thinkers Campus


A localisation model for climate action

Delivering the New Urban Agenda and the SDGs in the Hunter Region

As part of our commitment to the World Urban Campaign (WUC), Compass Housing Services has partnered with Cifal Newcastle to deliver a special, online Urban Thinkers Campus.

The Campus will be conducted as a 5-part webinar series commencing Monday 9th August at 10am.

This webinar series will look at what is being done in the Hunter to deliver the New Urban Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals in the Hunter Region.

Topics include:

  • The Decade of Action
  • Social Change for Carbon Reduction
  • The role of technology and the transition from fossil fuels
  • The role of local government

The full program can be downloaded HERE.

WEBINAR ONE | 9 August | 10am
The Decade of Action

The first session "The Decade of Action" will introduce the 2021 theme Climate Change and will feature representatives from local action groups.

Addressing the first webinar:



16 August | 10am
URBAN LAB SESSION: Social Change for Carbon Reduction


23 August | 2pm
The role of technology and the transition from fossil fuels


6 September | 10am
Urban Thinkers Session: The role of local government 


13 September | 2pm
Towards a Voluntary Local Review


  • Debbie Byrne, Circular Economy Lead, Lake Macquarie Council
  • Meaghan Burkett, Ethical Fields
  • Alice Thompson, CEO Committee for the Hunter

Presentations and workshop on responsible consumption and production 
Chair: Professor Dave Adamson


  • Newcastle City representative on Smart City and the SDGs
  • Warwick Jordan, Coordinator, Hunter Jobs Alliance
  • Tim Askew, Hunter Joint Organisation of Councils
  • Dr Anthea Bill, Lead Economist, Hunter Research Foundation Centre

Workshop on the opportunities and limits of technological resolution of climate change
Chair: Professor Rob Sanson Fisher


  • Professor Roberta Ryan, Pro-Vice Chancellor, Academic Director Hunter Research Foundation, University of Newcastle
  • Sally Ann Hunting, Director Research Programs Hunter Research Foundation

Workshop discussion of roles and responsibilities of local government and what they need from State and Federal government to support their actions
Chair: Jonathon Wood, Senior Project Officer, Sustainability Advantage, DPIE

Exploring collaboration to develop an innovative VLR for the Hunter region.

Chair: Professor Dave Adamson




















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27 Jul 2021

Digital Storytelling Workshops Huge Success

Compass Housing Services recently partnered with the City of Newcastle’s Digital Library and Beyond Bank, to host a pilot series of workshops teaching the ‘Art of Digital Storytelling’ skills to young people participating in the Grow a Star program.

Facilitated by Tim Davidson, General Manager of Virtual Extended Augmented Reality and Animation (VEARA) and Paul Predny, Managing Director of Coder’s Corner the workshops saw the students explore the theory of storytelling techniques and narrative development during hands-on classes featuring virtual reality, augmented reality and animation over a period of five weeks.

The workshops created an opportunity for students who would not usually have access to explore these emerging technologies, to develop new skills and identify future career aspirations. The course enabled students to gain experience in not only coding in C# language, 3D modelling in Blender, World Building in Unity and game design there were also opportunities to build skills in communication, project management and collaborative work.

Compass Housing’s Community Relations Manager Michelle Faithfull has recently taken on the responsibility of expanding the Grow a Star program and the workshops came about after a discussion with digital library staff.

Ms Faithfull said “We are always looking for opportunities to partner with local organisations to support young people in their academic, sporting or creative pursuits. In households where money is tight, young people often miss out on the extra-curricular activities that most would simply take for granted. These are activities that help young people to connect with their communities, and foster habits and behaviours that have lifelong benefits.”

 “The workshops were designed to produce real project outcomes and one-one-one coaching experience, with the potential for future work experience and/or mentoring opportunities with the workshop facilitators or other small businesses that provide VR and AR content for the library” she said.

Digital Library Activation Specialist, Clare Presser said “The pilot course went well. Overall, the group managed to exceed our expectations in ‘keeping up’ with the content. They were more focused than anticipated and a few of the students worked well beyond the stated parameters. The students have generated multiple projects in Unity and Blender- both industry compliant and free software. Every student completed 3D and 2D games that they could take home, tweak and share with their friends”.

The collaborative are talking about holding future workshops and are currently refining the format, with improved content and structure.

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07 Jul 2021

NAIDOC Week 2021 | Heal Country!


Isabell Bungie


For the first eight years of her life, Isabell lived on her grandmother's two-acre property on at Taree.  Isabelle’s grandmother purchased the land when she won the lottery. The extended family came together to build a family home and Isabell enjoyed growing up with her grandparents, parents and 12 brothers and sisters.


When Isabell was eight years old, the family was moved to the Purfleet Mission where she attended school. 

“School was good as a young child, the children were black and white and not racist, there was no difference, it was the teachers that were”, says Isabell.

"Things were different at highschool. The children were racist, and the teachers weren’t “


Isabell lived on the mission until she was 20 years-old when she moved out to live with her husband and two young sons.  At first, they lived in a caravan at the back of her parents’ home, but in 1976, the family moved into their own place in Taree.

Life was good, and the family grew! Isabell soon had six sons who got on well and enjoyed playing football in the local park with other kids. Isabell’s husband passed away in 1997 but Isabell remains in the house that they shared.  A house that is now managed by Compass Housing Services and has been home to Isabell for 45 years!


Isabell always enjoyed giving to her community. She participated in the work for the dole program which gave her the opportunity to volunteer at local schools, supporting students and teaching Indigenous arts and culture.

Her volunteer work led to an opportunity for paid work under the local Aboriginal Lands Council and with the Department of Education.

Through this work, Isabell supported generations of students for 20 years before retiring in 2009 to care for her second youngest son who has a disability.


To this day, Isabelle at 65, still volunteers her time at several local schools including Taree Primary, Taree High, Chatham Public and Chatham High. She enjoys talking about life growing up in Taree, teaching Aboriginal art, visual arts, culture, sewing and being involved in community events in her role as a respected Biripi Woman and Biripi Elder.


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16 Jun 2021

Business trek to grow local stars

WHAT: Inaugural Trek for the Stars to support Compass Housing Grow a Star program

WHEN: 2-6 February 2022

WHERE: Cradle Mountain, Tasmania

Hunter business people have an opportunity to trek Tasmania’s Cradle Mountain next year to support Compass Housing’s Grow a Star Program.

Forsythes Advisors Partner, Kellie Wright, is the fifth participant to sign up to trek which will raise funds for the scholarship and mentoring program for young Hunter social housing tenants and others experiencing financial disadvantage. The program helps young people to realise their academic, sporting or artistic dreams.

Kellie is using the opportunity to challenge herself, to step outside her comfort zone, while giving back to a good cause. The business owner and mother said the trek will give her an opportunity to take time out for herself, away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

“I have two teenage boys who are lucky enough to be able to chase their sporting and academic dreams,” Kellie said.

“Not all children are able to do that and the Grow a Star program gives them opportunities they may not otherwise get,” she said.

“Variety is a basic human need and sometimes we forget get so caught up in our work and home life that we lose any variety in our lives.”

The inaugural fundraising trek will be led by Compass’ Events and Community Relations Manager, Michelle Faithfull, in conjunction with experienced fundraising trek company, Inspired Adventures.

Michelle said it is great to see Kellie taking up the challenge, especially given that it’s her first trek.

“We will be trekking a variety of trails around the Cradle Mountain Village area,” Michelle said.

“I’ve done these walks before, and they’re absolutely stunning,” she said.

“We’ll do, easy, short exploration walks, day-long hikes, and a couple of steep climbs up to beautiful lookouts.” 

Michelle said more than three million Australians are living in poverty, including one in six children.

“Poverty can seem insurmountable, but sometimes, all that kids with talent need is a chance to break the cycle of disadvantage.”

“Grow a Star helps young people to overcome the financial or generational obstacles that are preventing them from being a star.

“We remove barriers by funding things such as specialist lessons or coaching, equipment or clothing, sports club registration and representative fees, some travel expenses, excursions, elective school subjects, music or dance lessons, or musical instruments.”

Michelle is calling on other business leaders or teams to take part in the trek. She hopes to raise a minimum of $20,000.

“These treks are life-changing and I can guarantee Kellie and other participants will come away with a whole new perspective on life.”

The five-day trek will run from February 2 to 6, 2022. The travel cost is $2,999 which includes meals, accommodation, a local guide and national park fees. There is a $3,000 fundraising requirement per participant.

People can sign up to the trek at https://events.inspiredadventures.com.au/events/growastar-tasmania-2022/

Iconic Cradle Mountain is in the pristine Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park in the heart of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. At 1,545 metres above sea level, it is the sixth-highest mountain in Tasmania. It is known for its exceptional natural beauty, breath-taking landscapes, and abundant wildlife.

Compass Housing established the Grow a Star program in 2012. It has assisted more than 400 young people to pursue their academic, artistic, and sporting goals at grassroots and representative levels.


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