Compass launches new retail social enterprise showcasing disability talent

Division 10 Councillor David Law, along with Compass Founder and CEO, David Dangerfield, has officially opened the Compass Institute’s new retail social enterprise in Nambour, “Wabi Sabi Creations”.

Wabi Sabi Creations is a unique social enterprise selling hand-crafted pieces made by local people with disabilities in a supported environment, who attend one of the many Compass Institute Campuses. It will also soon offer opportunities for people with intellectual and/or physical disabilities attending Compass to undertake supported retail traineeships in the store.

“I am delighted to celebrate the opening of Wabi Sabi Creations here in the centre of Nambour”, said Cr David Law.

“There are two key features with this new retail outlet coming to town. Firstly they are demonstrating their belief in Nambour and its strong future. And secondly, it makes perfect sense for Wabi Sabi Creations to choose Nambour because our town is known for its diverse community where everyone belongs.”

Wabi Sabi Creations is one of many social enterprises founded by the Compass Institute, all of which aim to provide hands-on skills-based training and vocational pathways to people with disabilities, along with challenging community perceptions about what people with disabilities are really capable of.

“There is a hidden assumption in mainstream society that a person with a disability is a liability”, said Mr. Dangerfield. “And that as such, they are best supported by welfare style solutions.

“At Compass we start with the assumption that a person with a disability is an asset, and like all assets, is best supported by learning, development and vocational opportunities.

“The Compass social enterprise model opens up a world of opportunity for people with a disability to experience and be seen in valued roles – as shop assistants, as creative artists, as baristas and very importantly, as role models to younger children with disabilities who can begin to dream that they can be whatever and whoever they want to be.

Wabi Sabi Creations also adds to Compass’ growing presence in Nambour. In May this year, Compass opened a new Learning and Development Campus just across the courtyard in C-Square – its sixth Campus – focusing on structured learning, development and creative programs for people with intellectual disabilities.

Compass has also been successfully operating a social enterprise café on Nambour Connection Road, Connections Café, for over 5 years now. This enterprise has offered meaningful vocational opportunities for over 50 young people with disabilities over this time and is about to undergo a transformation to allow for even bigger opportunities in the near future.

“Compass has successfully transplanted into Nambour, a complete ecosystem that supports school leavers to access further learning, skills-based training and genuine vocational experiences”, said Mr. Dangerfield.

“We encourage the young person to explore their abilities, to think big and to work hard to become their ideal self.

“We’ve been asked ‘Why Nambour?’, and the response is: Because we believe in Nambour as a community of people, who want the best for their sons and daughters whether they have a disability or not.

“When you believe in people and in communities, they invariably rise up to meet those expectations. Compass is proud to be a part of the redevelopment of this community.”

The Compass Institute has been operating for over 25 years and provides further education, skills-based training and vocational pathways to young people with intellectual and physical disabilities across multiple campuses and social enterprises from Caboolture through to Gympie.

You will find the new Wabi Sabi Creations store at C-Square, 52-64 Currie St, Nambour.