Meet the team

The work of Help Musicians UK is divided into seven teams including: Creative Programme, Health and Welfare, Communications, Fundraising, Finance & Business Services, Business Development and Nations & Regions.

Executive Team

James Ainscough
James Ainscough - Chief Executive

James most recently worked at the Royal Albert Hall, joining in 2008 as Finance Director and becoming Chief Operating Officer at the beginning of 2015 until the end of 2017. In this latter role, he oversaw all venue operations at both a strategic and day-to-day level (including artistic, commercial, customer services, marketing, fundraising, facilities and business services), as well as playing a significant role in wider issues from building development to governance. 

Prior to that, his career in finance included roles auditing in the charity sector, at Warner Music UK and as European Finance Operations Director at an acquisitive business services company. 

James joined HMUK as Interim Financial Director in April 2018; he was appointed Interim CEO in July 2018 and was confirmed as the permanent CEO in December 2018.

James has a degree in Economics from Cambridge University, three children, two cats and one wife (not necessarily accumulated in that order). He's also a keen amateur musician playing piano, bass guitar and 'cello and enjoying everything from classical to rock (via jazz, funk and folk). Shostakovich, Neil Finn and Vulfpeck regularly fight it out for first place on his Spotify playlist. 

Claire Gevaux
Claire Gevaux - Director of Programme

Claire has over 20 years of experience in leading cultural strategy and collaborative partnerships and joined the team in 2015 from the Foundation for FutureLondon (previously The Legacy List) where she led the creative vision for Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. During this time, she curated a programme delivering over 30 projects through a series of strategic partnerships which secured the cultural legacy of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Claire’s relationship with the Park started in 2008 when she was integral to a pioneering team embedding permanent arts and culture into the fabric of the Park during its construction. Before this she spent eight years at Arts Council England building up a knowledge of charity governance, artform policy and an impressive network.

Claire is Chair of Queens Theatre Hornchurch and on the Board of Greenwich + Docklands International Festival and Chelmsford Cultural Development Trust. She is also a mentor to young female creatives and enjoys being commissioned to make elaborate and creative cakes! 

Belinda Dee
Belinda Dee - Fundraising Director

Belinda’s background is in business development and strategic brand planning for agencies including Saatchi & Saatchi and CHI & Partners. She moved into the non-profit sector in 2008 to pursue her philanthropic interests after an intrepid cycle across Namibia to raise money for local causes.

Previously Development Director for Barts Charity supporting the UK’s largest NHS Trust, and a strategic consultant to charities including The Art Room and Rethread, Belinda’s passion for music, equality and promoting good health led her to HMUK in August 2017.

She has a degree in Physiological Sciences from Oxford University and a strong interest in music, having played the viola from the age of three and performed in various orchestras and ensembles. Belinda is also a Trustee at Sound and Music, the national charity for new music, and the Barts Guild.

Sarah Woods
Sarah Woods - Director of Communications and Business Services

Sarah has over twenty years’ experience within the charity sector, with most of her career spent at the Royal Albert Hall (as Director of External Affairs and Director of Customer Relations) leading the communications, marketing, digital and visitor experience areas of the business. As Director of External Affairs, she oversaw development of the venue’s communications, marketing, IT and ticketing strategy – leading several major projects to improve the charity’s profile, online capabilities, service offer and commercial income.

Sarah joined Help Musicians in December 2018 as Interim Director of External Affairs and was appointed to the post of Director of Communications & Business Services in May 2019. She studied Music at Kingston University and her passion for music lives on; although time to play the cello and piano is a little more limited with two young children. Sarah is also a co-opted member of the Lyric Hammersmith Enterprise Board.

Creative Programme

Lucy Bampton
Lucy Bampton - Head of Creative Programme

Lucy brings over a decade’s experience managing and evaluating creative programmes. Since 2016, she has overseen the development of new funds and support resources for professional musicians at all stages of their careers. She is passionate about music and musicians, and committed to providing holistic opportunities for collaboration, innovation and sector change.

Prior to HMUK, Lucy has worked across the creative and cultural industries. This included a six year stint at Arts Council England where she led a number of national, cultural, education and audience engagement initiatives, and looked after an eclectic portfolio of music and learning-focused organisations for the London office.

Outside of work, she focuses on her own creative practice as a basket maker, enjoys travelling and being in the great outdoors. She also occasionally moonlights as a face painter. 

Julia Hayes
Julia Hayes - Creative Programme Manager

Julia leads the team responsible for creating and executing the organisation’s many rounds of grant funding per year. Each fund is designed to respond to the different artistic needs of musicians, whether that’s to further skills, produce cross-sector projects, find a business mentor or tour, write and record in a financially viable way.

She joined the team in December 2018 after working for five years on a talent development programme, Create Jobs, engaging businesses and organisations across the creative industries to open up paid opportunities for diverse young Londoners.

Julia spends some of the week in her studio where she is developing her practice as a visual artist.  

Health & Welfare

Joe Hastings
Joe Hastings - Head of Health and Welfare

Joe oversees all health and welfare activities and is responsible for the development of new support services within the team.

He was instrumental in facilitating the delivery of the Musicians Hearing Health Scheme, which to date has had an intake of 4,700 musicians accessing state-of-the-art hearing advice and protection.

Joe has recently been busy working alongside colleagues to create and deliver the Music Minds Matter support line, which launched in early December 2017. 

Joe is particularly keen on looking to develop services that support healthy careers for musicians. He also composes music for film in his spare time alongside playing various instruments for fun. 

Kezia Racher - Service Development Manager

Kezia has been working on setting up HMUK's support line and service, Music Minds Matter.

She has worked in the voluntary sector for over 25 years, providing emotional support and information to various groups of people via telephone helplines and outreach services.

She has also set up, developed and managed a number of support services, including helplines and advocacy services. Kezia is a qualified counsellor and mental health first aider.

Liam Hennessy
Liam Hennessy - Health & Welfare Manager

Liam is the Health and Welfare Manager at Help Musicians UK. He has worked for the charity for nearly 3 years and oversees the Health and Welfare team at the charity’s head office in London. Leam’s Health & Welfare team are a core part of the charity’s work, providing financial assistance and home visits to musicians in need all over the UK. His team also are responsible for Music Minds Matter, the around the clock listening ear service for the music community, as well as the hugely successful Musicians Hearing Health Scheme, which has already supported thousands of musicians with bespoke hearing protection. 

Prior to working for Help Musicians UK, Liam worked at the mental health charity Mind. Away from Help Musicians, Liam composes music for TV and short films in his spare time.


Jonathan Penny
Jonathan Penny - Head of Major Giving

With over a decade of fundraising experience in the Third Sector, Jonathan has worked with a variety of charities including health, youth homelessness, and climate change. Prior to joining Help Musicians UK, he worked for an air ambulance charity heading up the fundraising team.

He has extensive experience working with philanthropic donors and has worked on events at high-profile venues that include St James’s Palace, Lambeth Palace and the Hotel de Paris in Monaco.

Jonathan is passionate about musical theatre having trained at stage school from the age of five. Outside of work, he can often be found enjoying the latest West End hit musical or volunteering front of house at the Southwark Playhouse. His other interests include travelling and scuba diving.

Emma Jones
Emma Jones - Community Fundraising Project Manager

Having worked for a mix of local and national charities supporting causes from animal welfare to the health sector, Emma has gained experience across a variety of income streams. Her extensive experience has ranged from multi-million pound grants to creating a successful volunteer engagement programme. Her passion lies in making a difference to society and to ensure the Third sector is viewed in a positive light.  Emma is a proud alumni student of the first ever cohort to attend Bangor University Law School as well as graduating from the College of Law, Chester.

Outside of work, Emma is an avid watcher of Welsh Rugby, loves to attend live music events and participates in bachata (a latin form of dance). At home, Emma can be found trawling the channels for the latest documentary, quiz show or testing out a new recipe.

Business Development

Matthew Leone
Matthew Leone - International Music Liaison Executive

In 2013, career-musician Matthew Leone transitioned away from eight years of touring the world as the founder/bassist for Chicago rock band Madina Lake, to found MP45 Records, prior entering the philanthropic sector as Ambassador/Fundraiser for Sweet Relief Musicians Fund. During his tenure there, Matthew deployed his expansive relationships and music-industry acumen to create new, innovative fundraising campaigns and strategic partnerships with the likes of Live Nation, United Talent, Creative Artists, APA, AXS and more, yielding 100s of thousands of dollars for the organisation.


Indy Vidyalankara
Indy Vidyalankara - Head of Strategic Communications

Indy Vidyalankara is a seasoned and accomplished former Sony Music Director Of Communications, Saatchi & Saatchi ad exec and PR specialist.

With a career spanning two decades in comms in some of the most high profile companies, Indy had an eleven year tenure in publicity across BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio 1Xtra and television. Her time at the BBC saw her working with some of the biggest names in TV and radio, across the most loved television shows on the BBC, such as Strictly Come Dancing, The Voice UK, Children In Need, Eurovision, Comic Relief and The One Show.

Indy is a Mathematics BSC Hons graduate from University of Manchester and currently a trustee at charity One World Media. She is also the founder of boutique music PR company Indypendent PR, which handles the PR and comms for music charities, music tech brands, artists and music industry companies.

Alex Mann
Alex Mann - External Affairs Manager

Alex started his music industry career as an artist manager and venue promoter for small and mid-scale venues. He later spent three years at Arts Council England, working on policy areas in arts and health, criminal justice, cultural diversity and disability.

Alex was a Union Official for the Musicians’ Union from 2006 to 2017 and has years of experience in providing expert advice, assistance and representation for musicians in all areas of their working lives, from emerging talent to established artists. More recently his work has focussed on national and international strategic and legislative issues affecting the music industry, lobbying and advocating on crucial campaigns for the MU and Music Venue Trust such as the Agent of Change to help protect grassroots music venues.

He loves UK Garage, Dream pop and Twin Peaks. 

Liz Stokes
Liz Stokes - Communications and PR Manager

Elizabeth Stokes has spent over a decade in the music business in both journalism and PR.

Starting her career on consumer titles, Liz edited the O2 Arena’s in-house magazine, Venue, as well as freelancing across a range of publications before moving to the industry-facing title Record of the Day.

As Editor of the well-respected daily publication Record Of The Day, Liz has become a key contact within the business, covering a broad range of topics including new tech, industry issues, change and growth. During her time at RotD, Liz has been a regular industry speaker across Europe and beyond and was integral to the set-up and positioning of the dance music focused ‘Industry Insider’ newsletter in conjunction with IMS and Mixmag.

Outside of her day-to-day job, Liz was a founding member and Head of Press of the Young Guns Network, an initiative set up to further the music careers of the next generation of business leaders. Leading the comms on voluntary basis for YGN, Liz established significant media and industry profile and support for the enterprise and proved her worth in the communications space. She has since worked with Apple Music globally on the iTunes Festival and in her spare time has been producing podcasts.

Nations and Regions

Caroline Hansell
Caroline Hansell - Head of Regional Development

Caroline has worked in the media industry for the last twenty years, starting her career in book publishing she quickly advanced into a more multi-media role creating content for TV broadcast, DVD and digital media platforms. She has a wealth of project management experience, working for several years in the music industry producing artist showcases, stage managing large scale events and booking artists. Her work at Help Musicians UK focuses on the Nations and Regions, leading the regional development plan for the charity and building a sustainable regional model.

As a professionally trained actor, Caroline is partial to treading the boards.

Keith Millar
Keith Millar - Nations Manager (Northern Ireland)

Keith has worked within the Northern Ireland music industry for seven years following a career change from environmental sciences to founding a music-based SME.

He manages an upcoming Belfast-based band (No Oil Paintings), has extensive experience of working in festivals and events such as Belfast’s Culture Night, Stendhal Festival, and also helped establish the Atlantic Sessions festival on the north coast of NI.

Keith is a lover and supporter of local music, a long-time practitioner of karate and was a huge comic book fan before it was cool.

Suzanne Miller
Suzanne Miller - Nations Manager (Scotland)

Suzanne Miller has an international career that spans twenty years of commercial and creative sector expertise, which has seen her delivering holistic support and impactful services for creatives and musicians across Scotland.

Originally from Scotland, with a Masters from Glasgow University in Culture, Suzanne grew up and graduated in the US, where she developed a successful career in the commercial sector. In 2006, she returned to Scotland and continued to develop and deliver programmes across the UK. In 2014, Suzanne joined Cultural Enterprise Scotland (CEO) as Head of Engagement where she developed and delivered national digital and live engagement events, masterclasses and workshops to support Scotland’s creative communities. She has combined her passion and education for the arts with a drive to further embed the social, economic and artistic value of the arts into Scotland’s modern culture.

Finance & Business Services

Tom Breeze
Tom Breeze - IT Manager

Tom has worked in IT for over 13 years, looking after systems and support teams in the education and skills sectors. He specialises mainly in server infrastructure, telephony and security, and is responsible for the day-to-day operational management of all IT systems at HMUK.

His interests include history, learning languages, musical theatre, and turning old computer hardware into useful gadgets.

Val Andrews
Val Andrews - Strategic Research and Impact Manager

Val has 30 years of experience evaluating organisational performance, designing intelligence systems and managing innovation projects in the health, social care and education sectors. She has recently shifted course into the arts and culture sector with this exciting role at Help Musicians UK.

Her personal passions are painting and creative writing and she has published a series of non-fiction books about creativity, based on her interviews with other artists.

Jennifer Kybert
Jennifer Kybert - Head of HR

Jennifer is an experienced HR professional who has worked passionately in the not-for-profit sector, partnering with organisations to achieve their ambitions through their people. With over a decade of experience, Jennifer has most recently worked as a Freelance HR Consultant with a variety of charities in a range of areas including environment, health and disability.

She has led on the full spectrum of HR initiatives from major organisational change projects to executive level recruitment and selection programmes. Prior to her HR Consultancy work, Jennifer spent 8 years at The Royal National Institute of Blind People managing the HR Business Partnering team before leaving to have her family.

Outside of work she is a keen runner with her sights set on running a half marathon. She enjoys a wide range of music from Brit pop to Country and everything in between! 

Who we have helped

"Help Musicians UK supported our family when my husband became seriously ill. Without them we would not have been able to adapt our house to meet his needs. Now he is back home with his family where he belongs for which we will always be grateful."

Jane, Music Teacher