Announcing the cancellation of the Nordoff Robbins O2 Silver Clef Awards 2020

Our largest annual fundraising event is one of the highlights of the music industry calendar and raises vital funds to support vulnerable and isolated people through music therapy

For the first time in its 45-year history, the Nordoff Robbins O2 Silver Clef Awards is not going ahead because of the ongoing Coronavirus outbreak.

The awards are usually one of the highlights of the music industry calendar, bringing together the finest from across the industry with celebrity supporters and influencers to celebrate the power of music. It is the biggest annual fundraiser for our charity and last year raised a record-breaking £1m to support our work with vulnerable and isolated children and adults. Past Silver Clef Award recipients include Ed Sheeran, ColdPlay, Dame Shirley Bassey and The Rolling Stones.

The event had been due to be staged on 3 July. Instead, the O2 Silver Clef Awards Committee, chaired by celebrated agent Emma Banks, will move the focus on to next year’s event, on Friday 2 July 2021, at JW Marriott Grosvenor House, London 

Nordoff Robbins expects to lose 75% of our fundraising income in 2020

Nordoff Robbins is the largest music therapy charity in the UK. Like many other charities, we are being severely impacted by the current Coronavirus outbreak and national lockdown. As well as the O2 Silver Clef Awards, most of our other fundraising events and activities have had to be cancelled or postponed this year – meaning we are currently expects to lose around 75% of our fundraising income in 2020, contributing to an anticipated shortfall in revenue of £6million.

Nordoff Robbins receives no Government funding and relies solely on the generosity of our supporters. Now more than ever music therapy is a lifeline for the vulnerable people our charity supports, especially as they’re being more severely impacted by the lockdown in place. We want to be able to continue to provide music therapy in this crisis and are working to offer this online to those we can’t see face to face at the moment. We hope to be able to keep our music therapists and return to providing our usual music therapy nationwide as soon as the Government guidance permits it.

Ed’s Story

Ed was 20 years old and studying to be a pilot when he was hit by a speeding taxi. He was left with severe head trauma, other life-threatening injuries and was in a coma for several months. As part of his rehabilitation he benefitted from Nordoff Robbins music therapy. He spoke about his experiences at the 2013 O2 Silver Clef Awards – seven years on his recovery continues and he is now working as a sales assistant and is about to move into his own home.

He said: “I lost the ability to do most things after the accident and coma. Music therapy taught me to walk again to the beat of a drum and taught me to talk again through singing. So many people don’t realise the power of music and how it can get deep into your brain and unlock so much when you don’t think anything else can. It’s been quite a journey for me but I’m here now. There are so many things that have helped me along the way and Nordoff Robbins music therapy was a big one.”

Our history

Right from the early days of the charity, the music industry and Nordoff Robbins music therapy have built a strong and lasting relationship. We have been able to evolve our music therapy practice to work with adults as well as children, to extend our services to reach more people around the country, and to develop an internationally renowned Master of Music Therapy training programme. None of this would have been possible without the support and commitment from the music industry.


Emma Banks, Chair of O2 Silver Clef Awards Committee, said:

“The decision not to go ahead with the awards this year, although the right one, has still been tough for all involved. The music industry has long supported Nordoff Robbins because what better charity to get behind than one which uses music to bring so much joy, comfort and hope to people experiencing so many different challenges in life? We’re determined to continue to support its fantastic work and we’ll work hard to continue to support the charity through these tough times. Our thanks to some in the industry such as Peter Leathem of PPL who continues to showcase his support for the wider music community by donating their sponsorship fee from this year’s cancelled event to the charity.”

Nordoff Robbins CEO Sandra Schembri said:

“The O2 Silver Clef Awards is our biggest annual fundraiser – we got a record-breaking £1m last year. As we get no Government funding the support of the music industry is more important to us than ever. Our music therapy has never been needed more and we want to be able to continue supporting those most vulnerable members of our communities now as well as for years to come.”