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Co-op and Steel Warriors to create 20 street gyms in fight against knife crime

By Tom Walker    21 May 2019
Accessible to all, the gyms are designed to give young people a free space where they can develop confidence and take part in physical activities

The Co-operative Group (Co-op) will invest a "multi-million-pound" sum to help create a network of street gyms in areas impacted by knife crime.

Working in partnership with anti-knife crime organisation Steel Warriors, the retailer will fund the construction of 20 free community gyms across the UK – each made using steel from knives that have been taken off the street, melted down and recycled.

Accessible to all, the gyms are designed to give young people a free space where they can develop confidence and take part in physical activities.

Co-op's funding will also enable Steel Warriors to provide a trainer at each gym, responsible for running training sessions for different abilities every week.

Local training instructors and sports groups will be invited to use the gyms for free and Co-op will connect local youth groups working to access the facilities.

Steel Warriors has enlisted calisthenics pioneers, Jay Chris and Lee Wade Turner and engineering company Heyne Tillett Steel to design the gym equipment – which has been designed to boost strength and flexibility by using bodyweight for resistance.

Steel Warriors, which has so far built one gym in Tower Hamlets, London, was co-founded by Ben Wintour and Pia Fontes. (To read a full-length interview with Wintour and Fontes and their plans, click here for HCM Issue 6 2018.

The initiative follows Co-op’s move to stop selling single pack knives in its stores.

“Knives will be taken off the streets and melted down to create new community spaces for people to come together to learn and build new skills through street workouts which enhance their physical and mental wellbeing," said Steve Murrells, CEO, Co-op.

“Community spaces have such an important role to play in fostering community spirit and the loss of youth centres and spaces has had a negative impact. This is something unique which makes a positive difference to communities.

“It literally adds steel to communities which are rallying against problems like knife crime by taking the weapons off the streets and turning them into street gyms.”

• To read a full-length interview with Wintour and Fontes and their plans, click here for HCM Issue 6 2018.

Co-operative Group  knife crime  Steel Warriors 
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