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Youth stars in Barton prepare gourmet banquet for achievers’ party
GUESTS were served up a treat as Barton came together to celebrate the achievements of youngsters on the estate.
A dinner party saw 110 people served a four-course gourmet meal cooked by budding chefs aged between 11 and 20 on the estate.
The evening came after a project from the Thrive Barton youth team to help youngsters on the estate reach their potential.
Children and teenagers were given cookery classes where they were taught how to prepare, cook, and serve food.
The evening at Headington Baptist Church last Saturday, was followed by an awards ceremony.
Thea Harvey won the Inspiring Leadership Award for her work leading a youth work project on the estate.
The 20-year-old, of Brampton Road, said: “When I grew up there wasn’t a lot to do.
“We were playing out on the streets and being menaces. I would like to see more young people out and about, being friends, not arguing with each other.
“I wanted to build confidence around leading a group because I want to help young children in Barton. I want to give them more than I had when I was growing up.”
Katie Pryde, Thrive Barton Youth Worker, added: “Thea grew up on Barton so she knows what it’s like.
“I think if there were more people on the estate like Thea we would see change happen quicker and on a bigger scale.”
Michael Friday, who has learning difficulties, won the Goal Achievement Award for hard work trying to find a job.
The 19-year-old, of Barton Village Road, has been out of education, employment and training for three years but has been applying for jobs and attending interviews.
He said: “It’s hard to get jobs because your CV is not right or your application doesn’t look right or the job’s been taken by someone else.”
Jem Todd, Thrive Barton Team Leader, said: “Lots of the young people we are in contact with are not in education, employment or training.
“Michael is a young person who isn’t currently working. He has a mentor helping him work towards getting a job and helping him apply for jobs and to prepare for interviews."”
He added: “I have no doubt that Michael is capable of working and will get a job. I’m really excited to see what the future holds for him.”
Michael’s mum Sharon Neeson added: “I am very proud of Michael because he’s stuck it out and is doing what he should do as a teenager.”
Thrive is a project from the Oxford-based Christian charity Innovista which has worked in Barton since 2010.
The dinner was funded by a £1,865 grant from Oxfordshire County Council’s Chill Out Fund.
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