TEENAGERS are hoping their hosting skills will thrive this weekend as they try to raise £3,000 with a three-course dinner.

The 35 young people from Oxford’s Barton estate have spent the last year growing vegetables, perfecting their cocktail-making skills and creating their own decorations in preparation for tomorrow’s meal.

It is part of a fundraising drive for a Barton-based youth mentoring project which has been working with 55 vulnerable young people from about 40 families on the estate.

Thrive is an initiative of Innovista, a Littlemore-based Christian charity , and provides young people with positive and safe spaces to get involved with activities and have fun.

Thrive team leader Judy Elliott said the project worked because trained staff and volunteers live alongside the young people and their families, helping them to learn life skills through mentoring, gardening, cooking and sports.

She added: “Our unique approach of staff and volunteers living in the community and opening their homes to young people and their families offers the potential of making a massive difference to their lives.

“We have policies in place to enable us to use our homes as a basis for our mentoring and also to serve as a safe place for young people to find refuge and help in times of crisis.

“Recently we’ve been using our homes as part of our allotment project where young people have been learning how to cook meals from produce they’ve grown.

“They’ve also designed and made the menus and created artwork for displays.”

The event will be held from 7pm tomorrow at Headington Baptist Church.

It features Thai spiced butternut squash soup, followed by Oxfordshire lamb pie with seasonal vegetables, rounded off with an apple and blackberry crumble.

All the food will be prepared and served by the 10- to 19-year-olds.

Live music and a charity auction will follow.

Looking forward to it are Cheney School friends Skye Fiddes, 11, and Chloe Fulham, 12, from Barton.

Chloe said: “It’s been quite cool going to the allotment and growing the food. We’ve really enjoyed ourselves.”

For details call Judy on 07841 762641 or Bekky on 07578 472454, or email Judy.elliott@ innovista.org or bekwick@hotmail.com