YOUNGSTERS are to “adopt” an alleyway in Colchester in the first scheme of its kind in the town.

The children from the High Woods Community Crew have laid claim to an alleyway off Berkley Close, High Woods, which has been blighted with graffiti.

Previously, the Guinness Trust, the housing association which owns it, has paid a company to clean the graffiti off the wall at great expense.

Police community support officer Angharad Phillips came up with an innovative idea that would both save the trust money, and help empower youngsters on the estate.

“The alleyway has been a repeat victim of graffiti and makes the area look rundown and uncared for,” she explained.

“I approached the housing officer at the Guinness Trust, with the idea of them stumping up the cash so we could purchase anti-graffiti paint to cover the wall.

“This means if more graffiti is sprayed on the wall, it can be removed with soap and water.

“The trust gave me the cash so we got the paint and the children are now going to take ownership of the alley.”

On Sunday, the High Woods Community Crew youngsters will pick up their paint brushes and take on the job of keeping it clean.

PCSO Phillips continued: “The children will keep an eye on the alley and clean the graffiti as and when it occurs.

“We are going to call this scheme “adopt a spot” and this is the first area to be adopted by a designated group.

“I plan to pinpoint more areas and get other community groups and schools to adopt them.”

She added: “If people take ownership of areas and care for them, it fosters pride in the children for their community. Hopefully it will deter them from doing graffiti when they are older.”

For more information on the scheme and the community crew, contact PCSO Phillips on 0300 3334444.