Compass Short-listed for the Howard League for Penal Reform Community Awards

We are so proud that our “Time To Recover” programme has been shortlisted for the 2016 Howard League Community Awards taking place November 30 2016.

The Howard League works for less crime, safer communities, fewer people in prison. Read on to find out how prison fails to tackle the underlying causes of crime.

The number of men, women and children sent to prison has more than doubled over the last two decades. Although most spend less than a year inside, this comes at a terrible cost to the taxpayer, society and communities. Reoffending on release creates ever more victims of crime.

While the prison population continues to grow, the money and resources available to manage that population growth is simply not there. More and more we see prisoners lying on their bunks with little positive to do. There are problems of prison suicides, rising violence and drug abuse behind bars.

Crime is often caused by drug or drink problems, by poor mental health, or through abuse and neglect at an early age. The public deserves a justice system that tackles these underlying causes of crime and invests in prevention.

We can never imprison our way to a safer society. Prisons store up and create problems that come back to haunt our communities in the form of more crime and human misery.

A prisoner standing on the wing landing oustide his cell door. HMP/YOI Portland, Dorset. A resettlement prison with a capacity for 530 prisoners. 
© prisonimage.org.  Any image use must be agreed first. All images must be properly credited.

Project Awarded Health Together Grant for Another Two Years

Using money raised by Health Together through The Health Lottery, grants have been awarded by the People’s Health Trust through Active Communities, a funding programme which invests in local people and groups in communities with great ideas to make their communities even better.

This two year project is an extension of an existing initiative, currently funded by the Trust, which the applicant would like to continue and expand.  The project will run 4 woodwork and furniture restoration workshops a week for people living in the Staple Hill area of Bristol who are in recovery from addiction.

Compass Recipient of Comic Relief Funding

The project has been awarded funding by Sports Relief and Comic Relief.

We are, as always so grateful for the support and the opportunities these funds bring.

Recently our director Kevin Neal and one of our store managers were interviewed by BBC Bristol’s John Darvall about the grant and our project. Listen to learn about our process and how the money you donate to causes like Sports Relief and Comic Relief helps projects like ours.

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The drugs (policies) don’t work

The Bristol Cable has written an article about drug policies and the Compass Project:

‘The truth is when you have an addiction you no longer have a choice’,

Tony, who used crack and heroin for thirty years, tells me.

‘I was doing drugs just to function. Once you’re in that disease and it’s got you, you act against your will on many occasions doing things you don’t want to do because any constructive thought you have in your head is overridden by the thought of needing drugs’.

Tony is one of an estimated 82,000 in Bristol whose lives have been affected by drug addiction – either their own, or the addiction of a loved one, and many more have problems with alcohol. I met Tony at the Compass Project in Staple Hill, a social enterprise made up entirely of people with a history of drug and alcohol abuse. Many have been in and out of prison. All the volunteers are in recovery and are given work experience and training to help reintegrate them into a society many had never felt a part of…

Check out the rest of the article here.

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Avon Somerset Police Crime Commissioner

Sue Mountstevens tweeted: “Loved talking to the guys @CompassProj now part of the community at Gloucester Rd and Staple Hill. Volunteers providing affordable furniture.”

Great visit from Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens. She is a great lady that is passionate about the community! She chatted with some of the guys and had a tour of our Staple Hill store. She is a big believer of the work we do and, after spending some time with her, we believe in her too! She has a real understanding of the issues and what it will take to fight the hardships that addiction brings to all.

The Commissioner has kindly allocated some funds for us to continue our good work with ex-offenders with substance misuse histories. Read more about that here. We are forever grateful!

Compass Project is Helping Give Lives a New Direction

Article about the project from the Bishopston Voice:

An inspiring scheme to support people recovering from drug addiction is turning lives around.
Kevin Neal – who has abstained from drugs for 19 years – combined his entrepreneurial background with his experience in rehabilitation to set up the Compass Project.
The initiative launched as a self-funded charity shop on Gloucester Road around 18 months ago and for the first year Kevin ran an pilot to test how the project would work.

Read More

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Compass Wins Santander’s Social Enterprise Development Award

Banking group Santander launched its annual Social Enterprise Development Awards with an increased amount of money for 2013. The Social Enterprise Development Awards aim to recognise and support social enterprises and Community Interest Companies in the UK that are working to grow their business and improve their local community.

The Compass Project received £20,000 to expand our workshop. The Santander award will help The Compass Project to buy new equipment for our furniture restoration workshop to allow us to produce more items to sell.

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Minister of Justice Chris Grayling Visits Compass

It was an absolute honour to receive a visit from no other than the Minister of Justice Chris Grayling!  It was amazing to have him mingle with the guys and talk about their experiences and the barriers they have faced.

Afterwards the Minister of Justice tweeted “@CompassProj Thank you for this great opportunity to meet a man with real-life tattoos. I think I understood some of the things he said.”

MP Charlotte Leslie was also there.  Both her and the Minister support the work that the Compass Project does enormously.  They believe that it is volunteer organisations and social enterprises just like ours that are at the heart of the solution when tackling issues like habitual re-offending and crime related to substance misuse.

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Giving People A Chance

First article ever written about us by The Bristol Post :

At first glance, you would be forgiven for thinking the  Compass Project shop in Gloucester Road is like any other charity shop.

The rows of books, racks of pre-worn clothes, and secondhand furniture section, are much the sort of thing you would expect to find in any charity shop – and Gloucester Road has its fair share.

But it’s the people behind the counter, the volunteers stacking the shelves, and cheerful blokes unloading the lorry at the back of the store, who make this shop something very special.

Each of them has a history of drug or alcohol abuse, spiralling social isolation, and a resulting collapse of confidence about carving out a living in the workplace.

Read more…

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