YOUNGSTERS can now kick balls against a wall to their hearts content after an innovative idea to stop anti-social behaviour at a park was introduced.
For the past four years the pavilion at Ashling Park, Denmead, has been used as a target by youngsters in the game of gutters and shutters.
Players get points for kicking a football at the gutters and shutters of the building, hammering the ball hard into it.
Although they did not deliberately set out to cause damage, the broken roof tiles and bent guttering has cost Denmead Parish Council £4,000 to replace and repair.
In a bid to stop the damage, but not the fun, Denmead Youth Partnership, which is made up of the parish council, Hampshire police and Swings and Things youth fundraising group, has installed a permanent ‘kickwall’ at the park.
It is made of heavy duty mesh with markings representing the gutters and shutters of the pavilion. It has a reinforced surround for extra strength and it has been designed to blend in with the basketball court.
Local beat officer PC Emma Port, said: ‘Some local children were using the pavilion roof to kick their football on and it was damaging the tiles.
‘We spoke to the youngsters and they asked if we could look into putting up a kickwall.
‘This is a great solution to a local problem and hopefully one which will keep the children and the parish council happy.’
Hampshire Police Authority provided £3,000 while the Parish Council and Swings and Things donated the other £2,000.
Parish clerk, Tony Daniells, said: ‘It was costing us about £1,000 to repair the pavilion.
‘The kickwall only opened on Friday and it’s already really popular.’