“It’s a chance to tell their stories through the songs they sing. It’s therapeutic.”

Rainbow Singers Across Borders are much more than just a choir.

They are the chorus of Rainbows Across Borders - a voluntary group formed in 2013 to assist lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender asylum seekers who have fled homophobic and transphobic regimes through fear of persecution.

Same-sex sexual acts are illegal in 72 countries, according to a 2016 study from the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association. And in six countries, they are punishable by death.

Such uncomfortable truths, as well as the inspirational efforts of 20th century LGBT+ activists, laid the foundations for the formation of Rainbows Across Borders - who are as much a campaign group as they are a choir.

“It’s quite unlike any other choir. We also campaign against homophobia, as well as racism and sexism,” explains Ray Harvey-Amer, a lifelong anti-discrimination activist who helps run the organisation.

“We provide a safe and secure environment. Members can say what they want and behave as they want and feel OK.”

The chorus began as a way of making new members feel welcome and providing a therapeutic activity for those who have suffered at the hands of oppressive regimes.

Singing allows those involved to share their stories with a wider audience through music, as the songs performed deal with themes of freedom, justice and liberation.

“It’s very difficult coming from dreadful places where many of them have been badly treated. I’m always really proud of them when they have all this other stuff on their mind,” says Ray.

“They come together because they know what it’s like to be persecuted. They can’t even come out to their mum and dad.”

Since their formation, the Croydon-based group, which has members from across the capital and beyond, has helped around 180 people gain asylum in the UK. It’s an admirable achievement, given they are entirely self-sufficient with no staff, budget or office.

Members support each other throughout the process of seeking asylum, providing advice and opportunities to build friendships.

“We offer something that doesn’t really exist for LGBT asylum-seekers,” Ray says.

With several dozen concerts under their belts, including shows at Pride Croydon and the Croydon Peace Festival, Ray admits Rainbows Singers Across Borders can’t wait to perform live once again.

“We’re delighted to be invited. The choir are really looking forward to the twenty-eighth,” he says.

“I expect them to sing like angels – we don’t want to disappoint. We’re really pleased to be supporting Kick It Out.”