Compass Housing Services Co Ltd (Compass) is an international community housing with a proven track record of managing a wide range of tenancies under a variety of housing programs.
Compass believes community housing is about much more than providing accommodation. It’s also about building communities. Compass’ vision is for a world in which all people have access to safe, affordable and adequate housing and are actively engaged in their communities. Compass is dedicated to making sure tenants are empowered to have their voices heard and to participate in the social and economic life of their communities. In addition to professional tenancy management, Compass delivers a range of wraparound services that help sustain tenancies as well as offering innovative tenant engagement initiatives that help foster a sense of social inclusion.
Compass understands that the best outcomes are achieved through an integrated service which understands and respects the people, place and potential of communities. Compass currently manages a total of 4514 properties across 11 locations throughout New South Wales, Queensland and New Zealand supported by a head office in Newcastle. Compass is a registered Tier 1 provider under the National Regulatory System for Community Housing and hold full accreditation under the National Community Housing Standards.
“Compass Community Gardens” (CCG) is a social inclusion program based on the ‘HomeGrown’ initiative developed by Vegepod and Dr Kate Neale from Southern Cross University. Utilising drought resistant Vegepod garden beds, the CCG program assists tenants and community members to create and maintain a community garden, develop life skills, reduce social isolation and boredom and increase community/social interaction.
Communal gardens within social housing properties play a vital role for tenants and the local community more broadly. They encourage individual wellbeing of tenants through nutrition, physical exercise and mental wellness as well as help facilitate and increase tenant involvement and engagement in social interactions on site. Tenants who participate in CCG projects are able to build and exhibit a range of capacity building skills in communication, teamwork, project management and gardening. Tenants are also able to show leadership in and pride for their local community and physical environment.
CCG applies participatory action research methods from design to development within the community, enacting inclusivity in every aspect of the project, with the ‘nothing about us without us’ philosophy. The project involves the installation of Vegepod garden beds in Compass managed complexes or community areas, which provide tenants and community members with access to fresh vegetables and serves as a platform for social interaction.
The CCG Project addresses priority areas which Compass understands are essential for our tenants to support them in sustaining their tenancies – Health, Wellbeing and Community Inclusion. The project encourages social inclusion for our tenants within their communities, giving them the opportunity to work together on establishing and maintaining the community gardens.
Education and training are key to the ongoing success of CCG projects. To support this, Compass has partnered with Botanic Gardens & Centennial Parklands Community Greening to provide tenants with expert assistant and training on how to establish and maintain the gardens. This training coupled with ongoing engagement and support from Compass employees and hardware such as tools and plumbing ensures that tenants will be able to maintain and manage the community gardens long after project funding expires.
This project has supplied our tenants with the opportunity to create a community garden which encourages socialisation with their neighbours and members of the broader community whilst and providing them, their neighbours and local community access to fresh fruit and vegetables.
The gardens installed to date across Compass’ portfolio have had positive results above and beyond the expected improvements in nutrition, and social interaction. Tenants in locations where community gardens have been installed also exhibit improvements in engagement on a range of other issues including sustainability, maintenance and access to ancillary support services.