This Charity Makes Outdoor Gyms From Melted Down Knives

Steel Warriors is raising awareness about knife crime and giving at-risk youth a healthy outlet.

Oct 25, 2018

(Courtesy of Steel Warriors)

When you think of healthy recreation, blades and knives would usually be the last thing that would come to mind. An outdoor gym that opened in east London managed to make the unsafe safe by building their equipment from metal from recycled knives and blades. British Charity Steel Warriors, the organization that brought the design to life, wanted a place that could serve as an outlet for young people and empower them to choose health and fitness over crime.

The gym is complete with metal climbing structures, gymnastic beams, and parallel bars, all of which allow exercisers to become stronger by using their own body weight. This recycled concept brought the community together and resulted in a partnership between the charity and the Metropolitan Police, where the latter enabled confiscated weapons to become gym equipment.

Steel Warriors founder Ben Wintour told Sky News that “knives are in the very DNA of the gym. 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." Wintour began this project hoping to make a difference and raise awareness about the number of knife crimes in England and Wales.

For their first location, Steel Warriors opted for Langdon Park in Tower Hamlets, one of the UK's most unequal boroughs, to get “young people off the streets and away from gangs.” Local resident 18-year-old Shanice Antoine believes the gym will transform the lives of the young adults living in the area.

Tower Hamlets has a far higher proportion of high earners than anywhere else in London, but at the same time almost half of Tower Hamlets' children grow up in poverty – the highest rate nationally.

"As a child growing up in an area like this, it mentally scarred quite a few of us," Shanice said. "We had no facilities to go to. We had nowhere to go. We were just sitting on the street at the age of 12.” The gym was built thanks to many charitable donations and willingness to create a better life for the youthful residents.

Local councilor Rabina Khan supports the movement and is vocal about needing a 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.

The unique project was met with a lot of positive feedback and Steel Warriors is already planning to build more gyms.

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REBECCA WOJNO, CONTRIBUTOR
Rebecca is passionate about reading, cooking, and learning about people doing good in the world. She especially loves writing about wellness, personal growth, and relationships.

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