Cameron leads charity’s efforts to engage with young people through comedy in St Helens
A comedian is using the power of laughter and comedy to improve young people’s mental health, thanks to support from The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK.
The Feeling Funny Youth project, delivered by The Comedy Trust, was recently awarded almost £10,000, thanks to National Lottery players, who raise £36 million
each week for good causes across the UK.
It delivers comedy workshops to young people across the North West who are experiencing mental health difficulties, with the aim of boosting their self-confidence and giving them new ways of channelling their emotions.
Cameron Jones, 26, benefited from The Comedy Trust’s work when he was at school and, thanks to the cash injection, will now lead the successful programme in his hometown of St
Helens when the new school year begins in September.
The funny man, who has been at the organisation for half a decade, was instrumental in setting up the youth focused project in St Helens
Due to his local knowledge of the area, Cameron felt that youth services there were inadequate, in comparison to what was on offer in neighbouring Liverpool and wanted to bridge the gap.
Inspired by his own experience of The Comedy Trust visiting his school when he was younger and the success of the project in Liverpool, he was determined for the young people to reap
the same benefits as he did.
After leading successive comedy courses through the project, he pitched the idea of expanding to St Helens to his colleagues who were all onboard.
Cameron said: “As a young person who grew up in St Helens I was always looking for a creative outlet. Due to lack of opportunity, I wasn’t able to be a part of anything, until The Comedy Trust came into my high school and delivered a six week course.
“Cut to 12 years later, I now deliver that same course throughout the North West. I have recently moved back to St Helens and connected with a range of young people as a Community Outreach Practitioner there - I see the same need in them as I had myself when I was younger.
“Before the course I was very introverted and anxious, that was the reason I was put on the course by my teachers to just try and build my confidence. After the course I found a
‘superpower’ in remembering jokes from TV and then recreating them in school, that’s how I’d get a laugh, so I liked that attention.
"That developed into me being a class clown which probably my teachers didn’t appreciate.”
The charity has been delivering comedy workshops across the North West for almost 20 years, providing alternative support to young people as well as other members of the
community, to improve their mental health and wellbeing.
Offering a light-hearted approach to dealing with mental health issues, the charity visits hospitals, schools and community centres, encouraging people to take part in a range of activities and comedic based games.
Benefiting greatly from the confidence boost the comedy course gave him, Cameron began his comedy career at the tender age of just 14. Since then the comedian has toured the UK
and even participated in a King Gong event, dubbed the most ‘brutal’ open mic night at the world-famous Comedy Store in London.
He is currently pursuing an acting career whilst still delivering the comedy courses to young people, highlighting how important his work is to him.
He said: “I am super passionate about replicating the success we have had with our youth club in Liverpool. The project will offer the young people of St Helens the creative outlet I
was given at 14 to increase their confidence, create a social setting to express themselves and develop a cultural identity using the foundation of comedy to change attitudes and
increase positivity in the town.”
Charlene Davies, Project Manager at The Comedy Trust, said: “Thanks to National Lottery players, this funding has enabled us to expand our reach engaging with young people from St
Helens, as well as our existing cohort in Liverpool.
"Through this support, we hope this is the start of an ongoing programme supporting vulnerable communities in St Helens.”