Liverpool ONE Foundation Case Study: Comedy Trust

Liverpool ONE Foundation Case Study: Comedy Trust

Friday 12 February 2021

13-year-old Jay joined the Feeling Funny Youth Club through a referral from his mum after finding school difficult.

When he joined, his parents said that he had been severely struggling with anxious thoughts and feelings during his transition into High School. He was struggling to travel and attend school due to his negative thoughts and feelings. His mother was very concerned and wanted to find an outlet for him to express himself.

Jay was a fan of watching comedy on TV, so when his mother found out about the Comedy Trust it felt like a good fit.

The Comedy Trust’s mission is to create happier, healthier people through the power of laughter and comedy, employing the skills of professional arts practitioners and comedians with a background in promoting positive health and wellbeing.

The Liverpool ONE Foundation funded the Feeling Funny Youth programme, designed to tackle the obstacles students face in their time in education by emphasising the importance of nurturing students’ emotional and social well-being throughout their time at school.

So how did Jay get on?

Jay was very quiet at his first Feeling Funny session and was reluctant to walk to the room. Throughout the session, through different games, Jay began to engage and find his voice within the group, contributing ideas and telling the team about his favourite comedians and TV shows.

The next morning the team’s project manager was in contact with Jay’s mum to check in with how he was feeling. She noted that he had happily got ready, packed his bags and got in the car with his Dad. He then spoke all the way to school in the car about his experience the previous night and how excited he was for the next session.

The second session of the month came around, and to the teams’ surprise, Jay shouted, “I’m alright Mum, see you later!”. He had decided to join the session on his own which was a delight for the team to see.

“As each session continued you could see the development and growth of Jay”

His mum noted he had even started getting the train from the Wirral on his own to sessions which was an incredible achievement from the difficulties he was previously facing.

Getting that first public performance out of the way!

Fast forwarding to Jay’s first ever public performance. Jay took to the stage and volunteered to be the first to open the show in the Feeling Funny Youth’s first draft night, in preparation for their larger showcase show during the Liverpool Comedy Festival. He performed with great confidence and skill, taking everything he had learnt over the year to perform his first ever stand-up comedy routine in front of an audience. He was one of few taking part in the club who had never taken part in The Comedy Trust’s comedy courses previously and still took to the stage like he was a professionally trained comic. The team could see the hard work that Jay had put in outside of club sessions to craft his routine.

“Seeing my son, develop from an anxious young man who lacked confidence, to performing a stand-up routine in front of an audience was amazing. The programme gave him confidence, a safe space to talk with his peers and tutor about issues that were affecting him. It also provided respite from day to day stress and anxiety – It gave him something to smile about! I think this has helped him to maintain focus at school and developed his perseverance, which is an excellent skill for him to take forward.”

A happy – and funny – ending

Using our mental wellbeing check in scale, Jay was asked how he felt at the start and end of the programme out of 10. He highlighted that he felt a 3 at the start and currently feels a 7 when looking back at his journey. There can be many factors that are also supporting his wellbeing; he noted that the club has helped him feel happier, less stressed, less anxious, more confident and better about himself and his capabilities. Jay also said that the club had helped him meet new people and make new friends.

“I wanted to take part because I enjoyed doing comedy, I most enjoyed practising stand- up. I am more confident and have learnt to be comfortable in social situations. If anyone else is interested in the club I’d say don’t be nervous, everyone’s really nice. It’s helped me grow as a person and gave me a confidence boost.”

Names have been changed to ensure confidentiality and the accompanying photograph is of a different Comedy Trust participant.

Liverpool ONE Foundation awards grants to community groups and charities who work to support young people’s mental health. The Foundation is managed by CFLM. Find out more here.

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