Sutu, Hengelo, Public space, football, Yalp
Four interactive football walls in one city

In order to meet its public health policy goals, Hengelo municipality decided to get four interactive football walls Yalp Sutu installed. Sports can be an important part of a healthy lifestyle. This might weigh even heavier when regarding children and teenagers. To their positive surprise, the municipality found that the Yalp Sutu helped realise other policy aims as well. This included community building and social cohesion in the area. As such, the Yalp Sutu were able to function as social and community integration sites. And it has proven to work!

Letting go of past

Wimjoost Licht, town council secretary of Hengelo municipality explains: “We had the first Yalp Sutu placed in 2011. The first was an initiative of FC Twente, as part of their community project. Initially, I was a little sceptical. I remember my own childhood, and how we only needed a regular wall to play football. I did not believe it was necessary to make a football wall so high tech, with all the illuminated panels and so forth. Also, I immediately thought of the costs such a high tech wall would entail.

But in the end, I had to realise times change, and three more Sutu have been installed since then. They’ve been proven to be more than worth it, as we continue to meet public health and community policy goals. “Even girls love it, and they play along with the boys. In the end I had to let go of my resistance, and learn more about what the newer generations actually like.”

Yalp Sutu is not just for boys

Wimjoost continues: “The fourth Yalp Sutu got installed in my own neighbourhood. Here a simple field was transformed into a modern sports accommodation with green and orange artificial turf, and a red and black soccer wall covered with LEDs. Again I instinctively remembered my own upbringing: we formed goals out of two jackets, which worked fine. However, they never pulled a crowd like the Yalp Sutu. Even girls love it, and they continue to show off their football skills every day!

“I wasn’t the only one that had to learn this lesson. I think it is of great importance to keep up with the times and realise that our own childhood needn’t always be the ideal benchmark to base all decisions upon. Yes it’s surprising to me that my two year old granddaughter knows how to handle an iPad. But if this is what they like, and we still want to give them the benefits of outdoor play, we have to do it through something like the Yalp Sutu. We should be thankful it’s there!”

“It is important to go with times - otherwise you get left behind and under-perform. Doing so consciously makes you realise new opportunity and solutions to public issues.”
Wimjoost Licht - Hengelo Municipality