A London-based charity has come up with an incredible idea to help dissuade youth from getting into trouble on the streets-- an outdoor fitness gym that is made entirely out of recycled knives and blades that were confiscated by the police.
Steel Warriors' aim is to raise awareness about knife crime and to give at-risk youth a healthy outlet, according to its website.
The London gym was crafted using over 2.5 tons of steel from steel weapons that might have encouraged a life of crime. According to the charity, they take careful steps to avoid building with those knives that have been used in any kind of conflict and “all knives used have been discounted as evidence and are set for destruction.”
“Knives are in the very DNA of the gym,” Steel Warriors co-founder Ben Wintour told Sky News. “If it was just a normal gym people wouldn’t necessarily talk about the (knife crime) issue, but because it’s built into the gym itself, it gets people talking about it.”
Since the gym was established on gang-neutral territory back in 2017, it has garnered praise for its ability to raise awareness about knife crime in London. Wintour and fellow Steel Warrior co-founder Pia Fontes hope that the exercise space will provide a strong visual example for youngsters to choose wellness and self-care instead of engaging in violence.
Local councilor Rabina Khan supports the movement and encourages the community-wide plan for a long-term solution to the knife crime. “The community which includes families, parents, community leaders, mosques, faith leaders, schools, have to come together to work with the police and statutory agencies so that we can address the level of knife crime in the borough," she told Sky News.
“We’re very aware that Steel Warriors isn’t a single-handed answer to knife crime,” says co-founder Pia Fontes. “We’ve spoken to charities like The Ben Kinsella Trust, who have told us their side of the story and how they approach the issue.” The Ben Kinsella Trust was set up after 16-year-old Ben Kinsella was stabbed to death in Islington, London in 2008. Since then, the trust has campaigned for change through exhibitions, workshops, and charitable events and regularly connects with charities fighting knife crime. Continuing, Fontes says, “the more we work and get involved in the issue will help more people to support and encourage other people's ideas to help stop the issue."
This unique project was met with a lot of positive feedback and Steel Warriors is already planning to build more gyms.