FREE holiday activities for Oxford’s most deprived children are safe from council cuts.

A review of the sports and arts sessions provided on city estates since 2006 revealed they are growing in popularity.

And Oxford City Council has confirmed the £160,000-a-year funding is safe for the next three years.

The news comes just weeks after a new study revealed that deprivation is worsening in Oxford, and is concentrated on estates such as Barton, Blackbird Leys and Rose Hill.

Activities provided during school holidays have included basketball, bushcraft, film making and music.

The majority are free, although some carry a small charge Antonia Bance, the council’s executive member for social inclusion said providing opportunities for children from deprived families was a key priority.

She said: “The funding is secure for three years and there is no major increase or decreases. I think the activities are of vital importance to children and families where we run them.

“They are specifically aimed at children growing up in families with fewer opportunities and less cash.”

She added: “Oxford is an expensive place to live.

“A trip into town and a cinema ticket is not cheap, and not every family can afford that all the time.

“This is about giving opportunities to those families.”

In previous years, activities have been funded in Blackbird Leys, Barton, Rose Hill, Littlemore and across East Oxford.

In 2009/10, 1,035 children attended, with 1,373 in 2010/11, up by 37 per cent.

The average cost to the council per child attending is £14.41.

Ms Bance said the sessions, which are open to all regardless of background, help tackle wider social issues.

She said: “They are targeted at helping young people make good choices, staying out of crime and staying in school.

“They build self esteem so they become confident adults.”

Last month, Oxfordshire County Council agreed to cut its youth services across the county.

A total of 22 centres have lost funding while 13 will continue to get cash.