Anti-knife crime organisation Steel Warriors has launched its newest outdoor gym, made from recycled knives, in Ruskin Park, Lambeth – built in partnership with the Co-op Group.
The new gym is the first of 20 gyms the Group has committed to build by partnering with Steel Warriors. The charity launched in 2017 by taking seized and surrendered knives off the streets of London and melting them down to build a calisthenics gym in Tower Hamlets.
The newest Steel Warriors gym features certified personal training instructors offering three training sessions each week for a variety of abilities. The personal trainers serve as ambassadors, offering mentorship and support to young people within the community.
The Group’s chief membership officer Matt Atkinson said: “Creating and protecting community spaces where people meet, exercise, play, learn and laugh together is so important for our mental and physical wellbeing. Without these spaces people become isolated and less active and our young people are less safe on the streets.
“We feel strongly that as a business we have to try and do something to support our communities, to help them work together to improve where they live and keep their young people safe.
“We don’t have all the answers but by co-operating with others and building partnerships like this one with Steel Warriors, which has produced this fantastic outdoor gym made from knives taken off the streets, has to help.”
Ben Wintour, co-founder of Steel Warriors, added: “Steel Warriors is incredibly grateful for the support from the Co-op and our other pro bono supporters to expand our mission of building gyms from recycled knives.
“The gyms are designed to generate awareness of the rising issue of knife crime while offering young people a safe place to develop more physical and mental confidence to walk the streets unarmed. We hope that this 20-gym plan will make a tangible difference to the rising problem.”
The gym promotes calisthenics, which requires using your own body weight to perform a variety of movements to enhance strength and flexibility. The gym launch follows the recent move from the Co-op Group to stop selling single pack knives in its stores. Instead it has donated them to Steel Warriors, in a bid to help young people stay safe and develop their health and confidence.
Steel Warriors has enlisted calisthenics pioneers to promote the launch of the gym which has been carefully designed by expert engineers, Heyne Tillett Steel and is open and accessible for all.