Social innovation in Rotterdam: One-stop-shop for youth at risk of exclusion


Jongerenloket (Youth Desk) is a hub of free services in Rotterdam where vulnerable people under the age of 27 can seek assistance for education, work or care. The one-stop-shop enables young people to access all of the city’s youth-related social services at one central location, hence making it easier for young people to receive the help they need.

This ‘Youth Desk’ offers a personalised, free coaching service for young people looking for advice or information on education, housing, health, entrepreneurship and other issues. It also offers services for young people looking for accommodation, education grants for single parents or those with learning difficulties, support for alcohol or drug problems, and advice on vocational training, college or university education and employment.

Young people can sign up at the Youth Desk without any prior appointment and they are assigned a coach who conducts an intake session and completes a ‘Self-Sufficiency Matrix’. This matrix is a tool to determine an individual’s ability to identify their own basic needs in 11 domains: finances, how time is spent during the day, housing, household relations, mental health, physical health, addiction, activities in daily life, social network, participation in society and issues with the justice department. The matrix score helps a youth coach to guide the young person towards the appropriate services. The Youth Desk is also then monitoring the persons during their participation in related programmes.

In the 2014-2015 period, 1,204 personal conversations were held between coaches and young people and 38% of participants were engaged in training, work or daily activities for at least 12 hours a week after their participation in the programme.

Initially developed in Rotterdam, Jongerenloket has been implemented throughout the Netherlands. The City of Athens is exploring how to facilitate its local implementation.  

Jongerenloket was identified as a successful social innovation during a recent mapping done by the cities of Athens, Barcelona, Lisbon, Rotterdam and Stockholm to identify and catalyse the transfer of successful innovations among European cities in the Accelerating Change for Social Inclusion project. The project is led by the UpSocial and supported by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation and La Caixa Foundation, with the collaboration of EUROCITIES. Read more about the project here.