County councillors have confirmed cuts to youth services which will have a major impact on clubs and centres across Oxfordshire. Some youth centres, such as two in Oxford, and those in Witney, Abingdon and Didcot are set to benefit from expensive refurbishments to transform them into some of the seven regional, ‘early intervention hubs’.

But the decision to create the hubs while closing other centres, has left many youth clubs either looking for a new home, or for volunteers to run them, or in some cases both.

Whether young people will travel from Eynsham, Carterton, Bampton, Chipping Norton, and Standlake to a new ‘hub’ in Witney is questionable.

And will those from Wallingford regularly get on a bus to Didcot to travel to a centre to which they have no real allegiance? So the search for a new club premises in Wallingford seems a sensible move. The town’s youth centre is expected to close in three months’ time, but the search for a new base is clearly not a straightforward one. It was launched at the start of the year and no alternative venue has yet been found.

In Wantage, the Sweatbox club, based at King Alfred’s Specialist Sports College, is another centre facing closure. But community leaders hope volunteers can come up with a rescue package which will allow the club to remain open.

As the young people have told us themselves, these facilities provide a safe space, away from home, where youngsters can be relax. This stops them hanging around the streets, and reduces the likelihood of them getting involved in anti-social behaviour. But, more than that, these spaces provide a place where youngsters can talk through their troubles with trained youth workers.

Youth workers prevent problems, discovering and tackling young people’s anxieties before they turn into a more serious issue.

Losing this support could lead to young people turning to drugs, alcohol and other temporary and ineffective solutions.

And, furthermore, it could add even more pressure to over-worked teachers having to cope with these anxieties. It is too early to condemn the early intervention service because the system may work perfectly well in the locations which have been selected as hubs.

But the cuts have left youth services in some towns facing an uncertain future — and we are pleased to see that efforts are already being made to bridge any gap.

Some senior police officers have voiced concern that cuts to youth service funding might lead to a rise in anti-social behaviour. We hope they are proved wrong.