Why do we exist?

Compass Community Arts was founded in 1998 to address the barrier to participation in the arts that people with disability faced.   Later we moved into the prison system, working with female offenders and then the learning disability community.  Today we are focussing on mental health and social isolation.  Throughout the years we have commissioned artists whose practice is collaborative and who are committed to living and working in a society that does not discriminate. 

As we have evolved we have strengthened our vision and today are proud to have introduced various guiding principles into our organisation.  Sociocracy facilitates our participant led ethos.

At the heart of our aspirations is to genuinely meet needs by building relationships in our local community among those members who are overlooked, slip through the net of social care or simply are more introverted or independent in their thinking, come from broken homes or their network of support has fallen away or has never been there. 

In reality, there are some members of the community that either don’t want to join in with the government services provided or through no fault of their own feel on the outside or excluded.  By bringing together these dispersed individuals we create a new family community of people living on the edges. 

Ultimately this is the focus of social arts practice –facilitating the creation of a local community where individual feels valued, their worth is recognised and they become a co-creator of their environment with the support of an extended family and network of friends and the skills to access professional support and development.  This will look different for different people.  It is the differences that Compass Community Arts celebrate and champion.


In January 2019 we ran a successful collective visioning workshop. This gathering of the Compass community was aimed at better understanding the values and needs of the stakeholders involved. To learn more about the outcomes of this event, please click on the summary document on the right.