Our lease will very sadly come to an end on January 31st.
Our home for the past year, the Frank Sorrell Centre, in Albert Road, Southsea is going to be knocked down and redeveloped for flats. Although we knew the lease was for just one year, we had always hoped we could remain in the building longer term. However, it's not to be! The wide range of support we have received during this time has honestly meant so much to us and enabled us to reach and support new people, more people and try new things. We were able to run weekly rehearsals for the Ska Choir, weekly men's music jams for people experiencing severe and enduring mental illness, organise so many events, art, vintage and record fairs, fundraisers, memorials and celebrations of life and music gigs such as Peter Docherty performing two fundraiser gigs. It's felt like such an incredible and vital community hub - particularly post-Covid and it's so sad we can't retain this to support our local community further. The reality though of the rising costs of living, rates and rents are just too real and we've had to rethink our future model. We cannot afford a new building and alongside the costs, we just do not currently have the staff availability to dedicate to providing the service we would like and that it needs. We started to make a number of other changes last year including handing over our Ska Choir we founded to the choir itself to run independently from Tonic. We will also focus more on our Tonic Rider programme for musicians and music industry professionals as well as launching our new programme - Never Mind The Stigma - a suicide prevention programme aimed at men / music fans. We feel these changes reflect current need and where we can use our skills and expertise to most effect. The development of the Tonic Rider programme is also quite naturally taking us in a different direction of providing national support across the UK. Whilst we will pilot our newest programme in Portsmouth, we will in time expand this across the UK.
We continue to owe Craig Duffy so much. His tragic passing enabled us to "get out of that fu@@ing basement" in our previous shop and studio - something he encouraged and felt was necessary to our development of Tonic! Through Craig, we were able to spend a glorious year in our new HQ which we have loved. Now, we move on again - virtually this time but with bigger plans. We really can't thank you all enough, your support has given us time and space to find our feet after Covid, support so many people through the power of music and develop our future plans. Tonic HQ will be open everyday 10:00am - 2:00pm until we move out. Please drop by to buy records, music books, furniture and all sorts of random things we have lovingly collected over the years. See you in a field or venue soon!