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Learning to laugh again

Cash for comedy courses to combat depression

A charity providing comedy lessons to people with long-term mental health problems has won a major cash grant.

Glasgow-based Universal Comedy, which helps those feeling ‘depressed, isolated and lacking purpose’ has been given £62,500 to help its work in Scotland’s Central Belt.

The grant from the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, will allow the charity to provide free comedy courses aimed at improving confidence and self-esteem.

Comics who tutor the charity’s workshops include Susan Calman, JoJo Sutherland, Paul Sneddon, Viv Gee and Raymond Mearns.

Founder Patsy Morrison said the funding, from one of Britain’s largest independent grant-making foundations, will allow her to open the course to everyone, not just those who have been referred mental health experts.

Singer and music student Linda McGee, who has been on the course, said: ‘Everyone I know who has done it says it has helped build their confidence and self-esteem where before they felt isolated Many people with mental health issues are very creative – they just don’t have an outlet for it. Comedy provides that for me.’

Posted: 22 Feb 2011

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