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19 Apr 2023 Author: VicHealth

Co-designing safe, inclusive and welcoming active spaces for young people

We're empowering next-gen through physical activity.

Together with Reclink, our Future Active initiative is moving the dial on creating safe and inclusive sport and recreation spaces and opportunities. And supporting young people to be confident and comfortably active. 

Before we started co-designing these spaces, we asked young people (aged 16-25 years) to tell us about: 

  • What stops them from getting active
  • Activities they wanted in their neighborhood 
  • What would encourage them to get more active 

What we did  

Together with Reclink and Y-lab, we:  


Ran 32 co-design workshops across 16 councils where 246 young people came together to pitch 90+ activity prototypes

I didn’t know that this many people care and want to improve the community

What we heard 

Young people value: 

  • Community connection: spaces that foster connections and bridge gaps between “cliques” 
  • Life skills, creative and novel experiences that are also fun and motivational  
  • Access to a balanced variety of activities across each of the weather seasons 

Their barriers to participation are: 

  • Lack of strong social networks and motivation 
  • Proximity, lack of transport and access to spaces – dependent on public transport, family and friends  
  • Lack of Safe spaces – perceived or real danger, culturally appropriate activities, public infrastructure such as lighting, environmental degradation, transit options 
  • Financial constraints - joining fees, cost of equipment, cost of participation 
  • Fear of judgement, embarrassment, and ‘cliques' form that led to bullying. 

It would be a good idea to have separate swimming classes for girls only, where girls like me could also avail the opportunity and feel safe and have fun.

They’d like to see more:

Spaces need to be like: 1. Inclusive. Central location, no cliques, meeting new people, 2. Inviting. Contemporary, accessible for all, not intimidating, 3. Pleasant. embracing natural landscapes and quiet spaces. 4. Unique. Meaning different, variety of activities and memorable. 5. Safe. Kid, inclusive, culturally appropriate. 6. Intentional. Motivating & goal oriented, Personalised & coaching. 7. Welcoming. You don’t want to leave, supportive, like you belong. 8. Fun. Adrenaline inducing, positive.

Some activities they want:  

Touch Rugby, School Incursions, Spikeball Intro classes, Move in May, Afterschool respite, Self defence, Pilates, Community Cup days, Just Dance, Lawn Games, Zumba, School based plogging, Basketball, AFL 9’s, Womens only Rec, Cricket, Football, Gentle exercise, Walking trails, Movie with Activities days, Colour Run, Gym and Swim, Mum and Bub activities, Outdoor Yoga, Water Skiing, Tennis sessions, 10 Pin Bowling, Scavenger Hunts, Geocaching Challenges

And Future Active will deliver 

  • Accessible and diverse range of activities on offer 
  • Beginner friendly spaces and introductory instructional classes 
  • Activities that enhance community connection and improve confidence in being outside  
  • Female-only spaces 
  • Culturally appropriate activities 

What’s next  

Based on these ideas, Reclink are running heaps of activities – for young people to be more physically active.  

Check them out

Categories: Being active