Tony Wadsworth CBE Appointed Chair of the BRIT Trust


Longstanding friend of Nordoff Robbins, Tony Wadsworth CBE, was announced last week as the new Chair of the BRIT Trust.

Firstly, we would like to reiterate our many thanks to John Craig OBE, who has been a wonderful ally to Nordoff Robbins as Chair of BRIT Trust. We are so grateful for the extraordinary support he has offered to us over many years.

Since 1989, the BRIT Trust have gifted us around £8 million to help us provide music therapy to those that need it most across the UK. Their support has been instrumental to our growth as a charity, and we are now the leading independent music therapy charity in the UK.

Without over 30 years of support from the BRIT Trust, we simply would not have been able to reach the incredible number of people as we have, with tens of thousands supported and many hundreds of thousands of music therapy sessions delivered across the UK in a range of settings. Their support helped us create a two-year Masters’ of Music Therapy programme, expanding into Manchester and most recently Newcastle. It has also helped us develop our reach, now providing music therapy to settings including refugee centres, dementia care homes, adult mental health units, hospices and SEN schools across the UK.

They have been integral in helping us offer open access music therapy on site in Croydon, North London, Newcastle, Manchester, and Glasgow and Edinburgh since our merger with Scotland in 2018.

When Covid-19 hit us with devastating effect, the support of the BRIT Trust was crucial. A generous Hardship Fund helped us to move swiftly online and continue our vital work, and we will be forever grateful for this lifeline which helped us respond so quickly at a time when our clients needed us more than ever. This support was fundamental to us managing to provide over 20,000 music therapy sessions in 2020.

Tony has been a part of the BRIT Trust story, and Nordoff Robbins, for many years. As previous Chair of the BPI, and serving 16 years as a BRIT Trustee, Tony is a longstanding friend to us, and we offer a very warm welcome to him with this appointment. We look forward to building on our relationship with Tony and the BRIT Trust as we move into a post-Covid world and a new era, where their support has never been more important to us.

With the roadmap announced, we consider those in need to include more people than ever, as access to cultural activity to support recovery will be vital in addressing issues Covid-19 has created or exacerbated. Tony highlighted this in his BRIT Trust blog post earlier this week, stating “This year brings its particular challenges due to COVID 19, which makes the vital work of the Trust and our partners as important as ever, as individuals struggle with isolation, and young people desperately need additional support with their education and in starting their careers in an industry that will be so crucial in bring the joy of music back to people’s lives.”

We also fully support Tony’s declaration that the BRIT Trust will ‘empower people of all backgrounds through music…to realise their full potential and life chances, whatever their abilities, ethnicity, gender and sexuality’. We look forward to continuing working closely together to respond to growing need and use the joy of music to enrich the lives of those that need it most across the UK, regardless of social barriers.

Sandra Schembri, CEO of Nordoff Robbins, said: “From all of our clients past, present and future of Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy, we add our congratulations to Tony Wadsworth CBE and are delighted with their collaborative support of our work and for their commitment to keep the funds flowing at a difficult time for many.”

Reacting to his appointment as new Chair of The BRIT Trust, Tony Wadsworth CBE said:

“I am honoured to be the new Chair of The BRIT Trust, and to have this opportunity to work with my fellow trustees to build on the outstanding  work of the Trust since its formation in 1989. 

“The BRIT Trust is the music industry’s charity and provides funding to the BRIT School and Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy, among many others, that promote education and wellbeing through music encouraging values of accessibility, diversity and inclusion. The huge challenges created by the pandemic mean that the work of the Trust is now needed more than ever, but while our guiding principles remain the same, this changed landscape means there is now also an opportunity to reset some of the ways we can look to achieve our goals so these are more closely aligned with the needs of our industry and the communities we are here to serve.”

Universal Music UK’s Rebecca Allen (President, EMI Records) and Selina Webb (Executive Vice President of Universal Music UK), who are Co-Chairs of this year’s BRITs Committee, said:

“Music and the creative arts enrich all our lives. Nobody understands this better than the BRIT Trust who do a fantastic job in bringing the industry together behind countless charities and initiatives which amplify the power of music, and support those in need. As Chair, Tony will bring leadership, energy and unrivalled industry experience to help take the work of this important charity to the next level.”

 Also welcoming Tony Wadsworth’s appointment, BPI & BRIT Awards Chief Executive, Geoff Taylor, said:

“Having had the privilege of working very closely with Tony when he was Chair of the BPI, I know first-hand the vision, experience and collaborative leadership he will bring to this role. The work of the BRIT Trust has never been more important, at a time when young people face more obstacles than ever in developing their creative careers.

“I’m certain that Tony will take the vital work of the Trust forward with new impetus and a refreshed sense of purpose.”

For the full BRIT Trust press release, please read here.

Music Week’s interview: Tony Wadsworth on why the BRIT Trust is more important than ever

Tony’s blog post on BRIT Trust website – 1 March 2021