PROTESTERS continued yesterday to make their pleas to save services at Oxfordshire County Council.

Almost 60 people – and a few snowmen to boot – held a pre-Christmas lobby to make their feelings heard as councillors held a cabinet meeting inside County Hall in Oxford.

They are unhappy at many of the proposed cuts, including plans to shut 20 libraries and 21 youth centres.

Gawain Little, president of the Oxford and District Trades Council and chairman of Oxfordshire Anti-cuts Allia-nce, led the protestors who gathered with placards outside County Hall, in New Road.

He said: “We wanted to have a fun, family friendly protest to raise what is a very serious issue. These cuts will affect people across Oxfordshire.

“Young people in particular are set to bear the brunt with cuts to education and youth services, including closing the majority of youth centres in the county.”

Lucy Creed, 18, of Abingdon Road in Oxford, has been helped by the detached youth team based at the Castle complex.

She is furious about Oxford youth centres including Wood Farm, Headington, Wolvercote and Cutteslowe possibly losing their funding.

Seven ‘hubs’ will be set up, while some youth services will be retained in areas judged to have the greatest need, including Blackbird Leys and Barton.

Miss Creed said: “Youth workers do not judge us, they help put us on the right path and they are like friends. They are proposing making these hubs where young people can go if they are really bad, but why wait that long, why wait until we are really bad for help?”

Richard Bryant spoke on behalf of the trustees of Wood Farm Youth Centre, in Titup Hall Drive, to address councillors.

He said the ‘Big Society’ idea was “barking mad” and volunteers would not be able to fill the gap of paid employees, as is being proposed, adding: “We have about 1,000 young people in the catchment area that we service.

“This is the only very modest resource that they have got. If that was to disappear, the only nearest resource would be Barton.”

Mother-of-three Tamara Thomas, 39, who lives off Woodstock Road, Oxford, asked the council at yesterday’s meeting to work with campaigners in Summertown to find a way to save its branch library.

She said: “I do think we can save it. They are elected representatives, elected by us, they have to represent our interests.

“I know they have to save money, but they have to be creative, there has to be another way.”

Among those singing The Eight Days of Cutsmas was Sid Phelps, 47, of East Avenue, East Oxford, who was angry about proposals to shut some recycling centres, including Redbridge.

He said: “I’m concerned it will lead to an increase in fly-tipping that will cost more to clear up than keeping these recycling centres open. Shutting them is outrageous.”

County Hall spokesman Paul Smith said the key decision making date for the cuts was Tuesday, January 25 when the cabinet would meet to make its budget recommendations to all 74 county councillors. The final budget setting will happen on Tuesday, February 15.