A YOUTH mentoring programme for one of Oxford’s most deprived estates has hit a setback after a funding bid was deferred.

Thrive Barton works with young people from the area who need help to turn their lives around.

It wanted £6,869 from the Oxfordshire County Council’s Big Society fund to expand the project over the next year.

But it has been told it does not meet the criteria and will have to apply to another council grant pot.

Phil Evans, fundraising and communications manager, said: “Thrive is a group of people, some of whom live on the estate, who engage in youth work.

“It’s about being there for young people as a permanent presence.”

Their bid was sponsored by county councillor Liz Brighouse, who represents the area.

She said: “Barton needs this project. The people who do the work are people who are living there themselves so they know what the young people need.

“The funding has not been completely refused, it has been deferred, and they will be considered for the Chill Out Fund.”

Officers said it did not meet the Big Society criteria as Barton will be home to a council-run youth service satellite centre.

Overall the project needs £20,740, which would be raised from trusts and foundations and a programme which allows residents to sponsor a young person.

Mr Evans said the county funding would help increase the size of the project but was not vital to its continuation.

Thrive Barton, which was launched in October 2010, aims to help the estate’s young people with projects such as a cooking club and an allotment project.

It currently works with about 12 young people.

Team leader Judy Elliott, 25, said: “We live in the community so we’re not coming at this from a distance.

“There can be a culture of despair and powerlessness and we want to help bring about transformation.”

Thrive Barton is holding a fundraising dinner at Headington Baptist Church on Saturday, September 24, featuring food grown, prepared and served by the youngsters from the project. To attend call 01865 788350 or email elizabete.santos@innovista.org