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.

Supportive

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.

Together

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

Lara Stavrinou, Compass Manager

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.

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.

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, Peer 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 is a keen runner and enjoys the social inclusiveness of running with friends, he’s hoping to run 5km every day for 2021.

Alison Flynn, Peer Recovery 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, Recovery 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.