Youth Friendly Spaces

The Citizen Security Programme is partnering with the Ministry of Community Development to establish Youth Friendly Spaces as Community Based Multi Purpose Facilities in a number of communities throughout Trinidad and Tobago.

What is it?

A Youth Friendly Space as a safe, nurturing and enabling environment which facilitates and supports the holistic development and transformation of all young people. They involve young people in their design, implementation and management. They provide a full range of accessible and affordable services and quality care where the general atmosphere is one in which young people are treated with respect and dignity; are guaranteed confidentiality     and services are provided by non-judgemental professional staff.

More specifically, The Youth Friendly Space is a social and recreational centre intended primarily for use by adolescents and young adults between the ages of 7-29. In some cases children as young as 5 years old may use the Centre (e.g. in parent/child training programmes     as such child care services should be included in design. It will offer a combination of structured (educational, instructional, after school, vocational) and unstructured (mentoring,     games, opportunities for friendship) activities within a controlled yet appealing environment.

Generally, each YFS would include adequate physical space for five or more of the following types of activities:

1.    Individual and Group Counselling
2.    Recreational
3.    Leisure
4.    Administrative Operations
5.    Training Areas (formal classroom/workshop sessions)
6.    Conference/Meeting space
7.    Business Incubation
8.    Computer Literacy, Training or general Internet usage
9.    Library

Why Youth Friendly Spaces?

The concept of Youth Friendly Spaces has found global recognition while evidence suggests that once effectively implemented, youth engaged in YFS type activities are less likely to smoke, abuse alcohol or engage in anti-social behaviour (World Bank, 2006). Positive outcomes in the areas of education, social and emotional competence have also been highlighted in various research studies ( Eccles and Gootman, 2002; Smolensky & Gootman, 2003).

Who will  benefit?

Primary Beneficiaries have been identified as children, adolescents and young adults between the ages of 7-29; not restricted to persons identified as “high risk”. This therefore includes young persons from within the range of risk categories described below:

Minimal Risk

Remote Risk

High Risk

Imminent Risk


·Attend school regularly

· Positive peers

·Good family background

·Few psychosocial stressors

· Single Parent

·Associate with delinquent peers

·Evidence of some psychosocial stressors

· Depression

· Anxiety

·Externalising Behaviour

· Aggression

·Poor School performance

·Associate with delinquent peers



·Early sexual activity

· Use of alcohol

·Prior contact with the law

·Behavioural and academic problems in school

·Abuse of psychotropic drugs

·Teenage parent

·Prior imprisonment (conviction)

·Dropped out of school