A YOUTH club that provides up to 180 meals a week for some of the most deprived children in Oxford has been praised for its high hygiene standards.

Rose Hill Junior Youth Club was created in 2011 and now holds sessions twice a week during which a hot buffet is served to the children, who are aged between five and 16.

Fran Gardiner, who oversees the charity, said they starting serving food in 2014 after being confronted with the need from the children who attend.

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She explained: "We had a girl who by the end of the afternoon was crying because she was so hungry.

"It was then that we decided we would always provide a meal at the youth club. Sometimes we have children who haven't eaten all day, it's scandalous really that it happens but we do our best to help."

Rose Hill is recognised as a 'pocket deprivation', according to the charity's website, with 48 per cent of children living in poverty – the highest level in Oxford.

It added more than 40 per cent of the children who attend the youth club had social, emotional and behavioural difficulties, and come from 18 different cultural groups.

Oxford city councillor Shaista Aziz, who represent Rose Hill, told the paper earlier this week the youth club was incredibly important in providing fresh and nutritious meals for children using surplus food.

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Ms Aziz, who was commenting on a Guardian article about the growing use of food banks in the city, added: “For some children, these fresh cooked meals are the only opportunity they have to eat a nutritious dinner because they don’t have food available at home.”

The youth club, which costs £52.000 per year to run, received a surprise visit from Oxford City Council's health team on March 13, with the inspector awarding the charity a top rating of five stars in recognition of its high hygiene standards.

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Ms Gardiner said: "As typically happens with these things it was one of our busiest days with 100 meals being made to a tight schedule."

Despite the added pressure, she praised catering manager Ingrid Gaitet, who heads up a team of four in the kitchen.

She said: "They all do a fantastic job. We are classed as high risk, like a school, because we are dealing with children so it is incredibly important we have all the proper allergen and temperature systems in place."

The charity head said they were helped in their efforts by the new purpose-built kitchen the youth club team have used since moving into the new Rose Hill Community Centre in 2016.

For more information visit rosehilljyc.org.