The music therapy charity Nordoff Robbins describes its annual Silver Clef music industry awards as the jewel in its fundraising crown. Previous award recipients have included the Rolling Stones and Kylie Minogue.
The awards have raised £8m since their inception in 1976 and raised a record £475,000 in 2013. The money funds the charity's network of music therapists, who work in hospitals, care centres and schools.
Since 2002, the awards have had the same sponsor - the mobile phone brand O2, which has also supported the England Rugby Union team and the development of the Millennium Dome, now the O2 Arena in Greenwich, London. However, the Silver Clef Awards are different, according to Nuala Donnelly, O2's head of music sponsorship.
"The Nordoff Robbins sponsorship is so important because it's not just about people getting tickets, but also about understanding the power of music and how it affects people," she says. O2 provides £60,000 a year, part of which is spent on buying musical instruments, selected by Nordoff Robbins therapists. These form table centrepieces at the awards event and, within a week, are being used in music therapy sessions.
Jo Carter, director of fundraising and communications at Nordoff Robbins, says O2 wants to add value and provides pro bono access to its creative agencies. "We sit down with them all the way through the planning of the event and talk through it," says Carter.
This year, O2 agreed to sponsor the awards for a further three years.