Who we are

Directors

Katherine Blessan

Katherine Blessan

Katherine is a social entrepreneur, author and qualified English teacher. She has plenty of experience working cross-culturally including living and working overseas. Having experienced the hostility of the immigration system at first hand, Katherine has a particular passion to support the wellbeing of refugees and asylum seekers and believes in the power of creativity to bring healing.

Fun Fact

People often get confused as my surname is my husband’s first name. When we married, I chose that name instead of his surname, Babu, as I was a school teacher at the time and was worried about getting called Mrs Baboon!

Sarah Holly

Sarah Holly

Sarah Holly is a psychotherapist trained in several modalities and has worked within the NHS and charity sector with a diverse population experiencing a range of mental health difficulties. At the heart of all she does is her compassion for people and seeing them free to be themselves. An area of particular interest is seeing marginalized people having opportunities to flourish creatively.

Fun Fact

Growing up I had a front tooth that stuck out that I whimsically named ‘pirate tooth’. I finally ended up having braces in my early teens but made sure beforehand I had a farewell party as a final send off with my friends.

Jill Ball

Jill Ball

Jill Ball is a qualified ESOL and Mathematics teacher who has lived and worked in both Africa and the Middle East. Over twenty years ago, she helped found Open Door North East, which continues to support refugees and asylum seekers. For six years, she ran a project helping refugee women in Turkey, and is currently employed as a Refugee Integration Support Worker. Jill is convinced that creativity is a powerful tool to help overcome past hurts.

Fun Fact

When I was forty I started to draw and paint. Now my hobby is painting landscapes using oils and a palette knife. My kids call my style ‘slap-dash’. It’s never too late to learn something new!

Narges Torkamani

Narges Torkamani

Narges Torkamani is from Iran and participated in one of our Writing for Wellbeing programmes in 2022. She has an MA in Architecture and has worked as a designer. She enjoys making beautiful embroidery and all kind of handicrafts, creating them with love.

Fun Fact

My mum couldn’t teach me any arts that she knew. It’s because I’m left-handed and she’s right-handed. That’s why she found it difficult to teach me any arts made by hand as she found it confusing. I taught myself how to do all the different handicrafts.

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