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2019 Achates Philanthropy Prize winners announced

2019 Achates Philanthropy Prize winners announced

The Achates Philanthropy Foundation have announced that World Heart Beat Music Academy and Nick Thomlinson have won this year’s Individual Philanthropy Award, with Candoco Dance Company & ASOS winning the Corporate Award.

The winners of the 2019 Achates Philanthropy Prize, which celebrates first-time supporters of the arts in the UK, were announced on 19 November at a special event at London’s Rich Mix and presented by cultural philanthropist, Hannah Rothschild CBE.

World Heart Beat provides grassroots, non-selective, richly diverse, music education programmes for children from a vast array of backgrounds. The organisation was introduced to Nick Thomlinson by a trustee who thought his experience in property would make him a good contact as it began a pitch for a new music education centre and venue in Nine Elms. Thomlinson met with founder and Artistic Director, Sahana Gero, and came to a number of events including a concert at Speakers House.


2019 Individual Philanthropy Award winners World Heart Beat Music Academy (left to right)_ Sal Goldsmith, Nick Thomlinson and Sahana Gero. Photo by James Allan.

2019 Individual Philanthropy Award winners World Heart Beat Music Academy (left to right) Sal Goldsmith, Nick Thomlinson and Sahana Gero. Photo by James Allan.


He became involved in the pitch for the new space, investing time and expertise, and following the successful pitch, personally donated £37,500 in September 2018 – his first meaningful gift to an arts organisation – and worked closely with the team on the capital fundraising campaign leading to gifts and a widening of World Heart Beat’s prospect pipeline. He has personally secured donations of between £1,000 and £10,000 from individuals, despite initially being reluctant to be involved in asking for people for gifts.

Sahana Gero, Founder and Artistic Director, World Heart Beat Music Academy, said:

“We’re delighted to have won the Individual Award. It’s fantastic to celebrate Nick Thomlinson’s philanthropy – he has been so generous, making a major gift to our capital project and getting actively involved with our fundraising campaign. Nick embodies the true definition of the word ‘philanthropy’ and we really appreciate his support. Individual donations are a vital cornerstone of our work – we couldn’t achieve all that we do without them.”

Nick Thomlinson, said:

“How wonderful to have won a Prize that is shining a light on the importance of individual philanthropy for the Arts. I never saw myself as a major donor and certainly never envisaged getting involved in fundraising. However, World Heart Beat Music Academy is a wonderful charity that’s making a real difference to the lives of young people. Once I got involved, I couldn’t step away – I realised I was hooked!”

Winners of the Corporate Award, Candoco Dance Company and ASOS met at the 2018 Paralympics in Seoul where ASOS was an official supporter, responsible for designing and creating the formal and ceremony wear for ParalympicsGB, and Candoco performed as part of the Cultural Olympiad celebrations.


2019 Corporate Award winners_ Candoco Dance Company (left to right)_ Lucy Fox, Annie-Rose Grantham and Jo Royce. Photo by James Allan.

2019 Corporate Award winners Candoco Dance Company (left to right) Lucy Fox, Annie-Rose Grantham and Jo Royce. Photo by James Allan.


Candoco and ASOS developed a partnership to bring to life their shared values around promoting inclusion and celebrating diversity. The ASOS + Candoco Dance Company Training Intensive, a two-week residential for 15 disabled and non-disabled dancers aged 18-30, aimed to increase opportunities to train in an inclusive environment. ASOS offered significant financial support to develop this pilot, as well as gifting clothing for participants. The partnership took a dynamic and collaborative approach to communications and social media, with Candoco featuring on the ASOS Instagram Stories feed on numerous occasions.

The winning arts organisations in each category receive a £5,000 grant, and their nominated individual or company becomes the custodian of one of the two prize sculptures by British artist, Peter Brooke-Ball MRBS, for the year.

Founder of the Prize, Caroline McCormick, said:

“Culture belongs to and is the responsibility of us all. If a gift of money is one of the manifestations of a successful relationship, then the Achates Philanthropy Prize is a barometer of how well arts organisations are working with their audiences. 2019 is the fourth year of the Prize, and I can genuinely say that the ground is shifting.

“We saw a 65% increase in nominations this year – covering every art form, organisational scale and geographical region – but most importantly we saw the highest quality of nominations to date. So to those of you who won tonight as well as all of those who were shortlisted – congratulations and thank you – you are exemplars to the sector and are building a campaign for real change in the arts.”

Hackney Shed, Square Chapel Arts Centre, Northern Ireland Opera, Streatham Space & Writing West Midlands also received inaugural Achates Philanthropy Prize Bursaries at the event. The bursaries will offer the five arts organisations a bespoke masterclass to support the development of their fundraising. This is the first in a series of national initiatives to be launched and led by the Ambassadors, a group of experienced arts professionals.


Main image: 2019 Individual Philanthropy Award winners and judges. Photo by James Allan.

Melanie May is a journalist and copywriter specialising in writing both for and about the charity and marketing services sectors since 2001. She can be reached via

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