Compass Project a not-for-profit social enterprise founded and operated entirely by people with a history of drug/alcohol dependency and offending backgrounds. Completely changing ones life is something that takes enormous courage and heart. We are proud to be in recovery and want others to find the same joy.
We raise the majority of our funds through our two 2nd hand stores and restoration workshop. All monies go back into the project to help and support our members address behavioural issues and develop core work skills. Everyone involved in the project does an honest days work at the stores on a voluntary basis to take advantage of this unique environment of shared personal experience and identification. This allows us the time we need to address the barriers we face when attempting to reintegrate society after a life-time of addiction and crime. This also allows us to develop new skills, practice old trades and gain experience and references for our eventual employment.
Once the working day is done, we organize social events to renew hope that we can find fulfilment in sobriety. We collaborate on creative projects to once again feel inspired. We are a family and we grow together.
Social Impact Declaration: Social-Impact-Declaration_Compass-Project.pdf
Social Impact Statements:
Social Impact Statements
The Social Enterprise Mark criteria includes a requirement that the applicant can demonstrate that social and/or environmental objectives are being achieved.
In support of this, new applicants and renewing Mark holders must submit Social Impact Statements that summarise their headline activities and achievements, helping show how they are striving to make a difference and stand up to scrutiny of purpose as a social enterprise.
Updated July 2016
1) Supporting people in recovery from addiction
We are a social enterprise operated entirely by people in recovery from addiction. Over the last year we operated two recycled goods shops - a used furniture warehouse and restoration workshop in Staple Hill (the most deprived neighbourhood in South Gloucestershire) and a charity style retail shop in Bristol. We received donations from the local community that we resold and revenue was re-invested in the work of the organisation.
The enterprise and the social program are one and the same. Our members work on a voluntary basis in the shops in areas such as retail sales, store management, van driving, driver’s mate, warehouse operatives, furniture restoration, administration, office management, and e-commerce. Everyone works between 1 to 5 days a week for a period ranging from 3 to 9 months.
During this time our members start to address issues of confidence and self-esteem by slowly changing values, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviours through experienced-based learning. This is achieved when they allow themselves to experience, in a drug free/sober state, what actually happens when confronted with challenging work situations and interactions with the wider community.
In addition the programme provides the following services:
Liaising with Local Organisations – we have provided Awareness Workshops with referring organisations in order to share our on-going experiences about the issues surrounding addicts and ex-offenders. We have conducted consultations to better understand how we can help enhance the relationship between our members and these organisations.
Events and Workshops – Every month we organise community events that are open to all members. The events are usually organised in conjunction with other local organisations in order to broaden our social networks. For example, University of Bristol students and a local skateboarding shop helped organise a ‘Graffiti Your Own Skateboard Workshop’ where we came together with university students for a day of creativity.
2) Welcoming new members
This year we were able to accept 35 new members. Members can refer themselves but can also be referred to us from the many local drug & alcohol, prison, probation, employment and housing organisations we have collaborated with since we were established.
Of our 45 members, 93% completed their volunteer work with Compass Project and maintained their recovery during their membership.
We were also able to service approximately 50 households a month. Many of these households are low-income families and older people suffering from social exclusion in the most deprived neighbourhoods of South Gloucestershire and Bristol.
The totality of our trading income has been reinvested into the social enterprise.
3) Helping members break down barriers
Our members face unique barriers that, in ordinary situations, would cause them to give up and return to old behaviours before experiencing a change. These barriers include:
- negative mindsets
- lack of structure and basic life skills
- deep trust issues and feelings they are being judged negatively
After volunteering with us these barriers dissolve because our members no longer feel isolated and misunderstood. They no longer feel ashamed about their anxieties or lack of discipline. The social enterprise we have built allows for free communication about these issues because everyone, from the founders to the newest member, has experienced them. As a result we see the benefits to our members: increased self-esteem, confidence and trust.
At the same time, the local community, the majority of who are older people, gets to interact with us. This helps dissipate stigmas surrounding addiction and ex-offenders. It also offers the community a tangible way to get involved and contribute to the issue of addiction. In the end both our members and the wider community are able to restore trust in the other and individuals who wouldn’t normally interact have an opportunity to bond.