Teenagers will reap the fruits of their labours after serving up a home-grown meal to raise cash for their mentoring project.

The event was the culmination of a year of vegetable-growing and recipe-learning for 35 young people from Barton, in Oxford.

More than 80 people attended the meal at Headington Baptist Church on Saturday night. It features Thai spiced butternut squash soup, Oxfordshire lamb pie with seasonal vegetables, and apple and blackberry crumble.

It raised £3,500 through ticket sales and a raffle for project Thrive, which has been working with 55 vulnerable young people in Barton.

The initiative aims to tackle a wide range of problems, including school exclusion and antisocial behaviour, through activities and mentoring.

Amber Webber-Hunter, 14, from Barton, served food at the event and said the mentoring project had helped her.

She said: “I never used to go to school but now I am at school again.”

And she said she was enjoying the event, adding: “It is something to do and it gets me out of the house and socialising with my friends.

“My mum and my sister are in the other room and all my friends are around me. Plus, it is raising money for the children in Barton and getting us more mentors so we have someone to talk to when we most need it.”

Jodie Rudman, 13, said: “I am enjoying myself and raising money for charity.

“I am really happy to be helping people to get back into school and on with their life.”

Chloe Gomm, 11, said: “It’s really fun and I am enjoying raising money.”

Her sister Chelsea Gomm, 18, who was serving food at the event, said she was in line to get a mentor soon. She said: “I need one because I am getting stressed. When you get angry you can speak to the mentors.”

She added: “I am really enjoying myself today because I am getting to help out and raise money for charity.”

Diner Anne Clayton, 64, of North Oxford, said: “I think this is fantastic.

“It is very exciting for the young people to have something they can aim for and put on like this. They will get such a sense of achievement from it.”

She added: “It is important because the one-on-one mentoring gives them help and encouragement, and often that is what is missing.”

Thrive spokesman Jason Lane said: “This work matters because these young people matter.

“They have enormous potential and we want to unleash that.”

It costs about £25 a month to mentor a young person, which covers the volunteer’s expenses.

To donate to Thrive, email judy.elliott@innovista.org.uk or call 01865 788350.