Hear Me Out


Our Story

People tell us that taking music into UK immigration detention centres is a brilliant idea and ask where it came from. The inspiration, like so many movements, started with one person.

Remembering Helen

Helen Tetlow (1951-2002) was a teacher, musician and activist. Helen spent her life standing up for and empowering refugees. That’s how we met. She also loved music and once packed her sax and went busking round Europe. Helen died suddenly and young. Her partner Peter wanted to use the money she left behind to help the most disadvantaged migrants in the UK. So he gathered Helen’s friends and family, myself included, to start a project. We were, and still are, so inspired by Katia Chornik’s research into the music made by Chilean political prisoners during the dictatorship of Pinochet. We were struck by how music was a way to process, remember, forget or transcend difficult experiences. Maybe my grandparents heard the music of Terezin before they were deported to Auschwitz and their deaths. To honour Helen’s life, we knew we wanted to get music into UK immigration detention centres. And that’s what we’ve been doing ever since 2006.

Who we are today

We’ve grown to a team of 5 staff and 34 artists. All devoted to supporting the mental wellbeing of the people locked in immigration detention and to changing attitudes to migrants in the communities around them. We’re really proud that in 2019, Lamin Joof joined the board as a trustee – an important point in our history as Lamin was held in the immigration detention system when he first got involved in our workshops. If you ever need proof of the power of music to bring strength and resilience to people held in detention, look to Lamin. As the UK has become increasingly hostile to migrants and with recurring episodes such as the Windrush scandal, we believe our work is more important than ever. We need to speak to people like you, who believe in humanity and dignity for people incarcerated in UK immigration detention centres – and we need your support. Alone we cannot free people from detention, but together we can give them some release. We can make sure their songs, their stories, their voices are heard.

Meet the Team

Hear Me Out is a passionate team of musicians, experts, teachers and people with real experience of UK immigration detention. Together, we’re working for the day when all migrants are treated with dignity.


John Speyer


Gini Simpson

Artistic Director

Zoe Burton

Programme Manager

Ellen Jordan

Programme and Evaluation Co-ordinator

Rosie Harries

Administration and Finance Co-ordinator

Ali Ghaderi

Project Co-ordinator

Anna Zabow

Communications and Marketing Manager

Emma Bracegirdle

Supporter Development

Phoebe Walker

Freelance Fundraiser

Lead Artists

Alexander D Great

Anna De Mutiis

Anusha Subramanyam

Arjunan Manuelpillai

Camilo Tirado

Carol Pemberton MBE

CeCelia Wickham Anderson

Ceylan Hay

Edith WeUtonga

Emmanuel Okine

Dr H Patten

Hanif Khan

Jack Sharp

Jane Munro

Joel Baker

Johanne Hudson-Lett

Jonathan Russell

Kensaye Russell

Kevin Campbell Davidson

Kevin Mark Trail

Kieran Plunkett

Lucky Moyo

Martin Hanson

Michael Goodey

Nathan England-Jones

Oliver Seager

Olivia White

Roshi Nasehi

Shammi Pithia

Shereece Storrod

Simon Paylor

Sophia Ripley

Téa Hodžić

Yannis Zaronis


Sue Lukes


Alastair Owen


Bridget Rennie


Clare Scott Booth


Hannah Wilkinson


Joanna Ridout


Dr Kai Syng Tan


Lamin Joof


Marie-Anne Mackie


Peter Frankental


Vebi Kosumi


How we spend your money

When you give to Hear Me Out, we promise you that we will use every penny to help make a real difference to the lives of people held in immigration detention centres.

Your money will sing

From professional musicians to run the music sessions, to producing and recording new albums, your money funds everything we need to help people held in immigration detention centres to make music.

Your money will connect

We have a small staff team who work tirelessly to make our mission a reality. Your money will help to pay for them and our lead artists, connecting us with those held in immigration detention. We don’t believe our staff are overheads. No one is an overhead at Hear Me Out.

Your money will amplify

We invest part of your donation into our fundraising and marketing. Last year, we invested £7,000 to raise funds and reach more people like you. People who believed in our work and decided to help. The more support we have, the louder our voice becomes and we can raise more funds to help those trapped inside UK immigration detention.

If you’d like to chat more about how we use your money, please just ask John.

What we stand for

We believe

In the power of music to promote wellbeing and to help people in immigration detention, and the surrounding communities, make their voices heard.

We respect

People of all cultures, backgrounds and beliefs, both inside and outside of detention centres.

We stand

In solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and are always looking to express this in our work and organisation.

We care

For the mental health of every human being held in a UK detention centre and we’re alive to the realities they face every day.

We create

And innovate as we’re artists ourselves and we know music improves mental wellbeing, finding new ways to help people who are denied a voice.

We’re independent

in everything we do – and we’re always transparent about our beliefs and how we use funding.

Join a chorus of music-lovers bringing refuge and release to immigration detainees

If you love music, you know the power it has. When you’re held in UK immigration detention with no end in sight, music can be the difference between keeping or losing your sanity. By giving the joy of playing and writing music, you help those taken away find refuge, strength and release. An escape from the daily mental torture of being locked up inside. That’s the power of music.

Registered in England and Wales, Company no 5943893 Charity no. 1119049
© Hear Me Out 2012—22. All rights reserved.