Comedian Lucy Porter among celebrities in campaign to save children’s club

Top artists and comedians are joining forces to help save a popular children’s club favoured by the likes of comedians Tony Law and Lucy Porter.

Artists Gavin Turk and Sam Taylor-Wood and comedians Richard Deering, Tony Law and Lucy Porter are among those donating their talents in a bid to raise money for the Sing-along Songs group.

Every week some 300 children, parents, grandparents and nannies turn out for the group singing sessions, which are the brainchild of Harriette Ashcroft – the great-niece of Dame Peggy Ashcroft, one of the most famous actresses of the 1950s.

The sessions, held at the Exmouth Market Centre’s church hall at the Church of Our Most Holy Redeemer in Exmouth Market, Finsbury, see youngsters – mainly under-fives – sing folk songs, foreign tunes, and Miss Ashcroft’s own compositions.

But the group now faces an uncertain future after a series of funding cuts over the years.

Ms Porter, 39, of Holborn, mum to Emily, two, and John, 10 months, has been to the sessions.

She said: “I have been to a couple of mum and baby things and this is one of the nicest because it’s just joyful live music from someone who really knows what they are doing.

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“I have noticed lots and lots of things being cut. It’s sad because they are important for mums at home with their babies with nothing to do. That is how depression, sadness and loneliness can get hold.”

Over the past 10 years, Sing-along Songs has received funding from the government’s Sure Start programme, the Exmouth Market Centre, the Cripplegate Foundation, Islington Council and EC1 New Deal.

But much of this funding has come to an end and so the group is largely reliant on parents’ donations.

But while the thrice-weekly sessions cost �440 a week to run, Sing-along Songs gets an average of just �250 to �300 a week in donations.

Miss Ashcroft, 47, said: “I started about 10 years ago with just a few children sitting on a mat in a church hall. It’s grown into a huge popular event.”

The fundraiser, organised by a group of parents calling themselves Songs For Us, aims to raise �10,000.

It will feature comedy sets by Tony Law, Lucy Porter, Richard Deering, Greg Burns and Nick Helm, music by Miss Ashcroft and her band, and an auction of works by Gavin Turk, Sam Taylor-Wood and Martin Parr.

n The Super Sing-along Fundraiser is taking place at the Exmouth Market Centre’s church hall in Exmouth Market, Finsbury, from 8pm on November 15 (doors open 7pm). Tickets, costing �10 can be bought from www.supersingalongfundraiser