About us

Compass Recovery College is a mental health and wellbeing organisation based in Reading, Berkshire, UK, commissioned by Reading Borough Council.

We provide free workshops and social groups for anyone in the area aged 18 or over who may be affected directly or indirectly by mental health or wellbeing challenges. Everyone is welcome and everyone is a participant. So whether you are struggling yourself, or perhaps you are a carer, family member or professional who would like to know more about mental health and wellbeing, we can help.

We start from a place of hope, with the belief that learning about our mental health and wellbeing with the right tools can give us more control for the future. We believe that self-management and making the most of our strengths can help us recover from challenges and become experts in our own wellbeing. With a variety of workshops delivered by staff and peer support volunteers with lived experience of mental health challenges, we hope you’ll find the way we do things refreshingly different.

Our philosophy

A safe space

We provide a supportive, friendly environment, where participants can learn and share experiences and ideas in confidence and comfort in order to develop skills for life.


We will do our best to meet the needs of every participant that wishes to develop and take control to manage their life.

Open to all

We welcome anyone aged 18 or over with lived experience of mental illness or life challenges, as well as their friends, family, carers, mental health practitioners and clinicians.


All workshops are developed and delivered by people who can call upon their own lived experience of mental health and life issues, together with clinically trained staff.

This is at the heart of the Recovery College and supports a diverse perspective on living with mental health challenges.

Meet the core team

Management and Admin

Charlie Thomas, Compass Manager (Maternity Cover)

Charlie started with Compass in 2023 and is delighted to be working with an such a fantastic and exciting organisation. Charlie is passionate about mental health and has master’s degree in occupational therapy and an undergraduate degree in psychology. She is dedicated to making a meaningful difference to people’s lives and has practiced in a variety of mental health settings including Hospitals, Day Hospitals, a Mental Health Integrated Community Service (MHICS), and a Crisis Resolution and Home Treatment team. She greatly values group work and is keen to oversee and be involved in the coproduction and co-facilitation of workshops. 

She is enthusiastic about preventative work and is eager to build on the strengths of the team to support Compass to grow and thrive. Outside of work, Charlie enjoys being physically active and exploring nature. She loves countryside walks, cycling and spending time with family and friends. 

Mauricha White, Business Support Officer

Mauricha has been part of the Compass Recovery College since it was created in 2015 and has seen it continue to flourish and provide support over the years. With a background in care and public services, Mauricha is responsible for ensuring the smooth running of the college and supporting the wider team. She enjoys drinking tea, Zumba classes and taking long weekend walks with her family, friends and dog, Pip.

Lara Stavrinou, Compass Manager (Maternity Leave)

Lara started in 2020 and is thrilled to have joined the Compass team to help build on its strengths, widen the type of courses offered and reach people who may otherwise struggle to keep well. Lara is keen to reach new communities and co-produce courses which challenge, engage and excite people. Lara has a background in working with charities, commissioning, and the arts. She is passionate about Pilates, mindfulness and yoga in her spare time and also loves to bake with her son.

Recovery Team

Chukuemeka Obiorah, Recovery Worker

Chukuemeka started his journey with Compass as a service user in 2016, accessing workshops like Five Ways to Wellbeing and Getting a Good Night’s Sleep to receive help and support after a couple of hospital admissions. He has worked both in the voluntary sector and the Care sector, from volunteering to working with people with learning disabilities and mental health conditions. Chukuemeka joined the team full-time in 2022 as a Recovery Worker. 

Chukuemeka is passionate about sharing his lived experience and the difficulties he faced to help and inspire people with similar experiences on their journey of recovery, and very much enjoys his role facilitating workshops and being involved with the co-production of workshops. Chukuemeka loves playing football enjoying the camaraderie with friends and also loves creative writing, mainly writing songs and spoken word based on his lived experience.

Mark Dibben, Recovery Worker

Mark joined Compass as a service user in 2015 accessing the Hearing Voices to receive help with his voices, after a series of challenges left him with a long period of hospitalisations, therapy, and recovery. After attending many Compass courses, Mark commenced Volunteering with the team in February 2017 and has recently joined the team full-time as a Peer Recovery Worker. 

Mark is passionate about sharing his lived experience and the difficulties he faced to help Compass students on their journey of recovery, and very much enjoys his role as a co-facilitator and being involved with the co-production of courses. Mark enjoys a good laugh and keeps team spirits high as ‘head of light entertainment’. He is a keen runner and enjoys the social inclusiveness of running with friends. 

Callum Flynn, Recovery Worker

Callum first joined Compass at the beginning of his recovery journey after many years of struggling with his mental health, his bipolar diagnosis and short stay at Prospect Park mental health hospital. Callum attended many workshops with the support of his mum. After attending ‘Understanding Bipolar Disorders’, Callum had what he calls a break-through moment in his journey to recovery.
Callum went on his recovery journey and completed his undergraduate degree in psychology with education in 2022. Whilst undertaking his degree, Callum became a volunteer with Compass to help develop a new ‘Understanding Bipolar’ workshop in 2020, bringing both his lived experience and academic knowledge of the condition to the workshop. In 2022 Callum joined the Compass team full-time as a recovery worker.
Callum is a mental health advocate and shares his story of his journey, including his struggles, difficulties and recovery to inspire others.
 In his spare time, he enjoys the adventure of life, and often can be found practicing his hobbies such as photography, travel, going to the theatre, and having a laugh. 

Naomi Lawson, Student Recovery Worker

Naomi started with compass in 2023 as a student recovery worker. Naomi is doing a 4-year course in psychology; she has undertaken two years so far and is working with compass as part of her degree. After researching compass, she realised that this was an organisation providing support that she was passionate about and wanted to be involved in. This led to Naomi becoming a student recovery worker at compass, giving her the opportunity to work with those she was determined to provide support to.

In her spare time she enjoys travelling, reading and most importantly, spending time having a laugh with friends and family where she can be at ease.

Peer Support Team

Alison Flynn, Peer Support Worker

Alison began her journey with Compass by attending workshops with her son to help get a better understanding of how she could help him through his recovery.  Alison joined as a volunteer in 2019, quickly becoming a staple part of the Compass team running multiple social groups for our participants. With Alison’s background in childcare and training students in childcare, Alison joined the team as a Peer Support Worker in 2021 to help produce workshops for communities within Reading.

In Alison’s spare time she loves spending time with her five grown-up children, especially on the Cornish beaches. Alison is also a big quiz fan, often attending quizzes with her family and creating quizzes for our social groups


Anne Soilleux, Peer Support Worker

Anne joined Compass part-time in 2021 after volunteering with them for a year. Prior to Compass, Anne worked at Microsoft but left for something more challenging. She brings her experience of living with Anxiety to Compass to support people as they develop skills that help them on their recovery journey. Outside of work she is a qualified yoga instructor, can often be found at her local lido and enjoys making clothes that almost fit.