AWARD 2019


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

'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:

'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!'

World Heart Beat Music Academy provides high-quality music education and fulfilling personal development opportunities for children and young people from low income and disadvantaged backgrounds living in Wandsworth and the surrounding boroughs. Every week, students aged 5-25 years participate in a rich programme from grassroots to early-career level, learning and performing music from a breadth of music genres, reflective of the heritages of the diverse community. Selected by London Borough of Wandsworth and developers Eco-World Ballymore from a competitive field of 42 cultural organisations, World Heart Beat has been awarded a 750 m2 space in the heart of the Nine Elms to create a 110-seat auditorium with world-class acoustics, state-of-the-art recording studios, expanded teaching rooms and practice spaces, digital learning labs and community café.

World Heart Beat was introduced to Nick Thomlinson by a trustee who thought Nick’s considerable experience in property would make him a good contact as it began its pitch for a new music education centre and venue in Nine Elms, on London’s south bank. Nick met with founder and Artistic Director, Sahana Gero, and came to a number of events including a concert at Speakers House. Inspired by Sahana’s vision and by seeing the young people first-hand he became involved in the pitch for the new space, investing time and providing valuable expertise. Following the successful pitch, he 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. Nick 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.



Sal Goldsmith, Nick Thomlinson and Sahana Gero (photo James Allan)


Michael Nabarro, Caroline McCormick, John Gillman, Francis Runacres, Nick Thomlinson, Sahana Gero, Mary Winch, Sal Goldsmith, Hannah Rothschild CBE and Bill Swainson OBE (photo James Allan)