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Catherine of Croydon

Freeing the voice - refugees, resilience and seeking asylum

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Edited by Catherine Pestano, Sunday, 8 Jan 2023, 10:02

As a social worker and Independent Visitor I have had a particular connection with and interest in Unaccompanied Asylum seekers. I co-managed a large local authority Independent Visiting service for 4 years, helping it grow and expand its range. 

Through my community arts work I have also supported local refugee groups and initiatives including Refugee walk, leading singing and circle dancing as part of wider nature based walking and sharing stories events.

My blog for Open Learn, Refugee week 2021, can be found here, drawing on my community arts work with LGBTQ refugees and asylum seekers.


I can be contacted at Catherine.pestano [at] open.ac.uk

You can read more about my community music work in my other blog here entitled Community music....https://learn1.open.ac.uk/mod/oublog/viewpost.php?post=239078 

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Catherine of Croydon


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Edited by Catherine Pestano, Friday, 5 Nov 2021, 17:46

As a carer I have brought my lived experience to a range of initiatives including the establishing of a carers choir and participatory music, training carers in Nordic walking and helping them establish an ongoing service. I am keen to train professionals on the inclusion of carers perspectives in their practice.

As an independently appointed pre-litigation final complaints stage paid investigator role, I have been able to achieve a satisfactory resolution in disputes with a local authority where carers had been unhappy with services received.

I am currently exploring further diversity related practice relating to carers including participatory music provision, compassionate mindfulness, nature practices. Post caring re-establishing of the self interests me, for example after the cared-for person’s recovery, or bereavement. I am an active member of the Open Thanatology group at the Open University.

Pestano, C. (2021 in press). Caring for the Carers. In K. S. Hendricks & J. Boyce-Tillman (Eds.), Music and Spirituality Series: Vol. 7. Living Song: Singing, Spirituality, and Wellbeing. Oxford, England: Peter Lang.

I can be contacted at Catherine.pestano [at] open.ac.uk

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