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Craig’s Compass Journey

Just over 14 years ago I was stuck in a rut, in a job that wasn’t taking me anywhere. Suddenly, I was made redundant. I chose to see this as a positive and time for a change.

I may not be the brightest person you’ll ever meet, but with my determination to always work hard and self-discipline taught through my childhood and love of sports, I knew I had something to offer.

New challenges

I applied for a role in a residential children’s home in my town. Not knowing what to expect, I took up the offer but realised within the first week that I had landed on my feet and was quickly offered a permanent position within the home.

I soon learnt that I needed to be resilient and calm under pressure, but even after hard shifts I would go home safe in the knowledge that that every decision I had made that day was in the best interest of the children living in the home and that I was keeping them safe; for me that was the most important thing.

Making changes, not just for myself…

Every day was different and I began key-working a young lad. I was confident that under my wing, he would show his full potential – let’s call him Danny*.

Danny started to get rid of his scruffy tracksuits and moved to skinny jeans, polos and vans, we couldn’t get him away from the mirror as he was constantly brushing his fluffy, swept, clean hair. Danny started to take pride in his appearance and with this his confidence grew.

Having been removed from every school setting in Sussex, Danny was given one last chance of an education and he grabbed it with both hands! Yes there were bumps down the road but I used to explain that tomorrow is new day and it’s how he bounced back that was important.

And Bounce back he did! Winning “East Sussex young Educations Person of the year” in his age group with a 100% attendance. How amazing!?

Danny continued to make good progress and was consistently making better life choices. He had turned from a very angry young man who was fighting the world (unsurprising given his sad upbringing) to a someone I can safely say I’m immensely proud to have spent time with and helped and supported.

Danny soon moved in with his grandparent’s and got himself a job within his family’s construction business. He is now a dad himself and doing great!

Joining Compass

I then knew it was my time to move on too…. I was offered a job at the “Families for Children” home in East Sussex – now Compass Community.

Six years working in the most incredible home that changed lives for the better, consistently being graded as Excellent (often with no recommendations) at every Ofsted inspection, this home goes from strength to strength and is still changing lives everyday (What an incredible place to have worked!)

I made the move from senior support work to the recruitment team 5 years ago to offer support and guidance to potential foster carers for Compass. With fast growth, 18 months later, Compass introduced a staff recruitment team. Given my background in residential homes, I jumped at the chance to be part of the new team.  My job gives me immense satisfaction knowing that every time someone new starts working in one of our homes, they are helping change a child’s life for the better.

Wherever the rest of my working journey takes me, I will always look back with happy memories from working with such dedicated adults, all striving for the same positive outcomes for the children in our care.

If you are interested in starting your own journey with Compass, please click here 


(* name has been changed)

Embracing Change – an insight from David Whitty

For the past 20 years I have worked within the care sector, the past 11 years supporting children.

As we all know, no two days are the same!

As residential workers, we wake up every day knowing that there will be a different set of challenges to test us and we embrace that  every day. That is one of the many things that has kept me hooked working in residential care, some might think of us as a little bit of a crazy breed, but I think of us as outstanding individuals who drive through the difficult times to reach our ultimate aim  – achieving amazing outcomes for the children we support.

I was part of an acquisition into Compass. For me and the wider team, the fear of the unknown brought mixed feelings of excitement and worry –  we didn’t know what to expect, or what was going to change…. But, we are residential workers,  right?!  So true to form, we woke up every day and embraced the new!

As always with change, there were good parts and challenging parts. We were supported by the wider company and departments throughout… Although,  I did forget a lot of people’s names.. And yes, I needed to be shown how to use the new systems more than once! However, the lovely people at Compass gave us the time and commitment to make sure  the transition into a larger company was a smooth as possible.

It is now two years on and I can say that we definitely feel like part of the Compass family and we embrace the Compass ethos.

It’s my opinion that the make or break of a residential worker is the ability to embrace change, dig deep and show resilience.
We do this as a collective, supporting and being supported by the teams around us.

Angela’s journey with Compass

Having spent most of my career dealing directly with adults’ mental health and caring for looked after children, Compass is the perfect fit for me!

I joined Compass in March 2019 as a Service Manager with the clear goal of making a “house a home” for the children and I can honestly say that it has been a fantastic adventure.

During my time here, I have worked on a variety of initiatives, such as creating new homes, acquisition of homes, establishing and growing new teams, becoming a school governor and many other projects to help Compass Children’s Services grow.

Working with wonderful people and helping fantastic children has led me to the position of Regional Operations Manager (ROM), with an emphasis on quality operations, corporate parenting, placements and education.

I am the “Responsible Individual” for eight Compass Community children’s homes. I manage many teams with a focus on prioritising staff development.

At Compass we strongly believe in recognising each child’s needs with a relationship-based approach to improve individual outcomes. We continue to be solution-focused to ensure our practices are grounded by methodologies and ideas that support maintaining children are at the heart of our shared life journey.


Jessica Middleton, Regional Operations Manager, shares her Compass experience

At Compass Community the key to success is support.

When we are young, we all have dreams of what we want to do and who we want to become when we are older.  

Choosing a job that requires looking after vulnerable people is special, but not without its challenges and at times, sacrifices. Residential is one of the most challenging jobs I have ever had and as such, this is why we can never underestimate the power of supportive colleagues.  

Recently I have had staff in the Northern Region that received opportunities to leave Compass. However, they chose to stay for this very reason.  

Being successful and doing what we do is only possible when we surround ourselves with people who fully understand and support what we do.  

In the North we have some amazing leaders at all levels. People that are called “inspirational” by peers and colleagues.  

Our words and actions can change the course of someone’s life, be it a child in our care, a peer or another professional.  

My Journey with Compass began a Registered Manager. To do that successfully I needed support from the staff team within the home as well as managers above me. 

I am now a Regional Operations Manager and owe my success to the people I have around me. I believe the North region is special as we have a team of compassionate exerts that will rally round and support each other in the hardest of times and the most difficult challenges. Let’s be honest, we really find out how resilient we are when things are in chaos. It is also in these times that we really see who has stood by our side.  

One manager in the region resigned at the end of last year, a manager that we did not want to lose. I’m not speaking out of turn when I say she was offered a good financial package to leave. However, when it came down to it, the manager remained here with us. She will tell you that it was because of the support network she has at Compass.  

Personally, I can honestly say, I have never worked in an organisation that has made me feel more supported by staff (at all levels) and from each department within the Compass Community.  

Having a feeling of “No matter what happens, I know we will work together to fix it” is something special and not something that you will find at every workplace.  


We work for each other here and at the risk of sounding cheesy – we are successful because we genuinely care and support each other. 

So, my message to you is this: 

Never Underestimate being supported or giving support to others as it is the key to success in all aspects in life.  

If you are interested in starting your own journey with Compass Childrens homes, please click here 

Reece Curtis reflects on the Compass Conference

Like many of you, I had the pleasure of attending the Compass Conference in Leeds this week and it was fantastic to see such a good turnout from all parts of the Compass Community. Part of the conference saw a Keynote speech from Lads Like Us,   I’m sure everyone who attended was just as moved and inspired as I was and hopefully everyone took something away from listening to both Danny and Mike’s stories. When reflecting afterwards, I felt a big sense of pride for what we do as an organisation and the successful outcomes we continue to achieve for the young people in our care. Listening to Lads Like Us showed us how the system can go horribly wrong at times but being at the Compass Conference also showcased just how well we get it right at Compass.

A big part of the keynote speech was about early intervention and professional curiosity – something we speak about lots at Compass and the importance of this. A big part of the speech that resonated with myself was a comment from Danny where he stated adults regularly said to him “You’ll either end up dead or in prison by the age of 18”. Many of my colleagues and people I have worked with directly at Compass know my own personal story of growing up in care – having lived in Residential Care for 6 years of my life – that phrase was something I often heard as a youngster. However, early intervention and support from carers and in particular my keyworker had a huge impact on my life.

This kindly leads onto the amazing feature we were running on the Residential Stand called Compass Hero where everyone at the Conference could nominate someone from the Compass Community as their Compass Hero. Loads of you took part in this and it was amazing to hear some of the stories and reasons behind for your nominations. It really did go to show what an amazing group of people work at Compass and the amazing impact so many of you are having on the young people in our care.



Compass Conferences 2023

Wow! What a week…and what a fantastic turnout at the Compass Conferences. 

It’s been a long time coming with over 5 years of waiting – but of course, it proved to be as successful as ever with great support from staff and our band of wonderful carers. 

Tuesday saw us at Copthorne Hotel in Gatwick for the first instalment, followed by the 240 mile trip up to Elland Road in Leeds for part 2. 

Over the course of both days we welcomed  233 members of Staff and 155 Carers. 

At the Southern Conference, we were honoured to have guest speakers Danny and Mike from Lads Like Us share their experiences of abuse and trauma presented with their unique humour, but also their unique brand of realness, highlighting that anyone and everyone can be a valuable instrument of healing. 

By simply asking a young person “why?” rather than labelling them as bad or difficult, you can halt the revolving door of pain and crime. 

Later in the week, at the Northern Conference, we welcomed Danny again, but were also joined by Thom Delaney who recounted his harrowing childhood experiences that led him down a dark path of addiction.  

After managing to fight his way out of his addiction by choosing to seek help, Thom is now a thriving public speaker whilst also being a student at the University of Glasgow, a partner and a loving father. 

The afternoons were packed full of learning and discussions hosted by the Learning and Development team with useful tips on how to use therapeutic healing tools when dealing with young people surviving trauma. 

Turnout at the stands was impressive and every attendee seemed keen to learn more about Compass Community’s services. 

The takeaway from these conferences has been that young people won’t simply shatter into a million pieces when questioned about concerning patterns of behaviour, and it can actually open the door to healing. 

“I have been blown away by the support from staff and carers at each of the Compass conferences” said Bernie Gibson, CEO of Compass Community. “The stories shared by our keynote speakers highlights the importance of services that we at Compass offer and how we can truly change the lives of each young person in our care. The work put in by everyone taking part in the event made the days a huge success and I’m very proud of all at Team Compass!”