Tonic started out organising music events to raise awareness of mental health.

We organised our first event at Portsmouth’s Pyramids Centre within our first six weeks. It included four stages of live music, with over 50 local and nationally-recognised performers. A year later, we organised our second all-day event: a sell-out show to a crowd of 1,500 people, compèred by Acid Jazz record label owner DJ Eddie Piller, and headlined by Terry Hall with the Dub Pistols.

In between organising large events, we have also arranged smaller gigs in local venues, such as The Wedgewood Rooms, The Joiners, and The Cellar in Southampton.

How We Fundraise

We rely on first nets to support our projects

Our team are out most weekends at street markets, festivals, events and gigs raising money with our tonic-bola and pop up stalls.

People have helped us to raise funds through sponsored head shaves, skydives, dragon boat races, cake bakes, gigs, and art auctions. We also sell our own merchandise including a range of t-shirts, patches and badges.

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May 2016: £6,590 head shave and art auction

Local ladies Tara, Lianne, and Lisa shaved their heads at Southsea Coffee Co. in May 2016, raising £4,440 for Tonic Music for Mental Health — a monumental effort! And a demonstration of the brilliance of Southsea’s community spirit. The head shave coincided with an art auction, with pieces contributed by Portsmouth artists, which raised a further £1,100. Plus, an extra £1,090 was raised through the sale of prints by local artist My Dog Sighs, totalling at least £6,590!

Music Workshops

We organise regular free all day music workshops facilitated by well-known nationally-established musicians for local aspiring musicians, songwriters, and poets, to build creativity, confidence, and belief.

Participants create music, songs and spoken-word together and perform their original work at gigs later in the day.

Art Workshops

When Tonic first formed, we started a twice-weekly art group for artists who were under the care of adult mental health services in Portsmouth. The work produced was exhibited in a central venue and featured in our Tonic programme. The artists felt the work they had produced had meaning, gave a sense of purpose and all were keen to continue the group, so we did!

Music Courses with Southsea Sound

Southsea Sound recording studio and Tonic Music for Mental Health recently collaborated to run a four-week music course for women who have experienced mental health issues. This involved female guest professionals and speakers teaching the basics of playing guitar, bass, and drums. The aim was to get musically-inexperienced women to the level of being able to play a simple rock song live. Not only are all of the guest speakers and teachers women working in music, but many have also had their own experiences of coping with mental health issues.

The course provides a safe space within which women with experience of mental health issues can start a band. They will be encouraged to pick up a guitar, a bass, drumsticks, or a mic with no experience needed.

The aim is to increase attendee’s confidence, expand their support network and provide inspiring positive role models for anyone wishing to follow this path.

Tonic Shop & Studio

A place of positive energy, offering support to anyone affected by mental health issues

After the wonderful Southsea Coffee Co. in Osborne Road raised an incredible £6,000 through a sponsored head shave and an art auction, we signed the lease on a shop and studio in Highland Road in Southsea, and began building Tonic HQ.

Tonic HQ will house an eclectic array of music and art workshops, masterclasses, and music tuition to help facilitate recovery and help give positive energy to support anyone suffering from or affected by mental health issues. The studio will also be home to two Tonic artists-in-residence.

The shop will enable us to help make the project self financing and will serve as a safe place for people to meet others, socialise, chill, gain confidence, listen to vinyl, read a book, have a coffee, and get creative.