About Us

"Sharing my joy of making music with people is a wonderful experience. Hearing voices that can no longer speak, sing and seeing the eyes of strangers meet in a smile when they are having the toughest day is why I do this.”

Helen Hayes Director

I founded Swell Music CIC in August 2020 after working for three years as a community music practitioner and facilitator in East Suffolk. The focus of my work is to help vulnerable members of the community to experience improved health and wellbeing through participating in music-making activities.

Growing up in Leicestershire, I benefitted greatly from the opportunities offered by the county music service and inspirational teachers in the area. I then went on to study at Birmingham Conservatoire and am still grateful for the insight that these early experiences gave me into the life-changing effects of making music with others.”

helen Hayes 2

From Cheltenham Festivals to First Light

After teaching for several years, I worked as Education Officer at Cheltenham Festivals and then owned and managed the Potton Hall recording studio and venue after moving to Suffolk in 2003.


Since going freelance in 2018, I have undergone training to gain more understanding into how singing and music-making can enhance the physical and mental wellbeing of people living with the challenges of various health conditions.


I undertook a dementia awareness course at Norfolk and Norwich Hospital, I am an Associate Member of Sing to Beat Parkinson’s and a trained Singing for Lung Health practitioner.

I lead several groups, including the Music Appreciation Group for families living with dementia at The Seagull and the Sole Bay Care Fund’s dementia singing group.  I have provided workshops and resources for Musical Keys, Suffolk Artlink, Creative Arts East, Norfolk and Norwich Festival Bridge and Lowestoft Rising’s Ness Fest.

I am lead singer and violinist in the swing trio Out of Nowhere and we regularly perform across Suffolk and Norfolk.  We provided a dementia-friendly concert as part of the BBC Music Day in October 2019.

I am also Music Co-ordinator at First Light Lowestoft, where, as well as working with the Director to programme the musical elements of the festival, I have a strong input into the community and youth engagement strands of the project.

“I have been very fortunate in being able to finally pursue my first love when I changed careers from Education to the Arts. I have discovered many similarities between the two areas where I have worked. In education the joy of seeing understanding grow in children’s faces makes the long hours worthwhile, and similarly in Theatre the appreciation of the audience makes the strange hours and long periods of rehearsal equally justified.”

Des Reynolds Director

Des was a teacher and HeadTeacher for 20 years before running away to join the theatre! He now works as a project manager on various arts related initiatives in and around Lowestoft. He is passionate about improving access to the arts particularly for those from vulnerable communities.

Des is excited to be involved with Swell Music because he has witnessed first hand the power of music when working on a project for people living with dementia, and can’t wait to share that impact with more local groups.

Seeing people come to life and enjoy themselves when engage with music is a wonderful thing. It is amazing to see how their whole being changes like a light has switched on”

Des Reynolds 1