A Liverpool mum who battled post-natal depression to build her successful children’s entertainment business has credited the support from The Prince’s Trust.
Lucie Campbell praised the charity as they mark the milestone of having helped one million young people across the UK since being founded in 1976.
The 40-year-old from Netherley set up her own business, Jumping Jacks, back in 2009 after turning to The Prince’s Trust for help after facing challenges including leaving home at 16, having a baby at 19 and then suffering from postnatal depression.
She told the ECHO: “Exercise really helped me with postnatal depression and I wanted to help others in a similar situation.
“At the time, I felt lonely. I had trouble sleeping, I would only get about three or four hours a night, I was worried all the time and wondering whether I was doing a good enough job as a mum.
“I was really depressed and wanted to go to the gym, but the funding for the creche at the community centre where the gym was had been cut.
“I was literally crying in the reception and they said there are other things you can do and I joined a playgroup. I met another mum who was going to college to train as a fitness instructor.
Find things to do with your family where you live by adding your postcode:
“She said they had a nursery that I could [place] my daughter in while I did the course, so I went for it.”
When Lucie qualified from the old City of Liverpool College site in West Derby, she went back to her local children’s centre and began holding her own sessions there.
But the mum-of-three soon began to see a gap in the market for parents with no childcare who wanted to do exercise.
As a qualified fitness instructor, she combined her music qualifications with her ideas for an exercise session that parents and carers and their children could enjoy together.
She said: “I had lots of ideas but I needed funding and equipment but I really wanted to set up my own business. So I went to the Prince’s Trust and they put me on a business enterprise course which I found really helpful.”
The Prince’s Trust supported Lucie with funding to get her business off the ground back 11 years ago and Jumping Jacks, named after her first son, was born.
The music and movement classes for parents and toddlers soon evolved into a successful business expanding into bespoke events like birthday parties, baby showers and weddings.
She went on to win the Prince’s Trust RBS Enterprise Award for Jumping Jack in 2014, and the Liverpool Lifestyle 2020 Best Small Business Award.
Over the years, Lucie has also inspired young people too, visiting schools and mentoring and inspiring students.
However, after celebrating moving into new premises at the beginning of the year, Jumping Jacks, like many other businesses across Merseyside was hit with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Lucie, who is mum to Emily, now 21, Jack, 15 and 13-year-old Ethan, said: “When we won this latest award we were over the moon. We started to get some big clients like St George’s Hall and the NHS.
“We moved into a bigger unit and then three weeks later, the phone calls starting coming in for cancellations, it was overwhelming.”
Sign up to our Secret Elves Club newsletter to find out the best festive deals and things to do this Christmas
Lucie turned to her Prince’s Trust business mentors who give her valuable financial and legal advice.
She said: “At the beginning of lockdown, I was really upset about the impact on my business, there were a lot of tears. But my Prince’s Trust mentor said to me ‘when you’re money poor, you’re time rich’, so that’s the attitude I’ve taken.
“I’ve updated our website, done lots of networking, and focused Jumping Jacks’ resources on creating eco-friendly balloon displays and decorations, as well as personalised gifts.
“I still do suffer depression and I’m not always this smiley, happy, bubbly person and find it difficult some days to motivate myself. but I keep myself busy and of course, exercise helps. But I try to spread positivity because negativity breeds negativity.
“The Prince’s Trust has helped me a lot, and I feel like I can still rely on their support if I’m struggling after all these years.
“What I am missing most is making people happy and I realise how much they make me happy too. In what other job can you dress up like a pirate at 40?”