YOUNG people from Barton coolly served dinner for their community this weekend – rounding the homemade meal off with a serving of their own brand of sorbet.
The estate’s teenagers have spent the last year growing vegetables, perfecting their cocktail-making skills and creating their own decorations in preparation for a community meal.
It was part of an effort to raise £5,000 for a youth mentoring project called Thrive which has been working with vulnerable young people from families on the estate.
Thrive is an initiative of Innovista, a Littlemore-based Christian charity, and provides young people with positive and safe spaces to get involved with activities and have fun.
The charity teamed up with G&D’s ice cream shops which helped the young people develop their own flavour – an apple and elderflower sorbet made from hand-picked fruit and flowers from around
Jeremy Todd, Thrive’s senior youth work co-ordinator in Barton, said the team was building on the success of last year’s event.
He said: “Last year’s Allotment Dinner was a great success – we even had one of the teenagers enrolling on a cookery course after the event, which he really enjoyed.
“This year we wanted to do something different so we’ve increased our fundraising target, linked up with local businesses, and the young people made our own flavour of ice cream. ”
The apple and elderflower ice cream will be sold in G&D’s ice cream cafes and if it successful, could become permanent on the menu.
Around 100 guests tucked into a homegrown and homecooked three course meal, held at the Headington Baptist Church on Saturday.
Diners enjoyed stuffed peppers with goats’ cheese, homemade burgers and chips served with salad that was freshly picked from the Thrive allotment, and homemade scones and jam, made with
strawberries picked from a local farm.
The young people were presented with awards for achievement.
Oxford East MP Andrew Smith said: “The Allotment Dinner is a great opportunity to meet local young people who have been working
hard to make the most of their potential – often in difficult circumstances.
“It’s an important occasion to mark their achievement, and fun too.”
The Thrive Team live in Barton and have worked with disadvantaged and vulnerable young people on the estate since 2010, enabling them to increase their skills, aspirations and confidence through a
range of activities and mentoring.