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The London Charity That’s Turning Confiscated Knives Into Outdoor Gyms

By Alex Landon

Steel Warriors

Steel Warriors is transforming confiscated knives into guns.

(The muscle kind, not the shooting kind, obviously.) Anyway, here’s what you need to know about London’s brilliant new initiative, which is helping to address knife crime and improve personal fitness at the same time. Steel Warriors takes knives seized by the Metropolitan Police, melts them down into steel, and then turns them into community gyms – and they’ve just unveiled two brand-new gyms for the capital.

Steel Warriors
Photo: @steelwarriors

With knife crime a frequent presence in the London news and on our streets, the importance of Steel Warriors can’t be understated. Founded by Ben Wintour and Pia Fontes, the initiative was inspired when they heard of just how many knives had been confiscated by police, and had the bright idea to do something about it.

As Mr Wintour told the Evening Standard, “we didn’t want to be another finger-wagging organisation… [we wanted] something to prevent against the key motives for carrying knives rather than just telling them that they’re going to get hurt or put in jail”. With so many young people carrying knives for protection, Steel Warriors gambled on the belief that developing the physical confidence to walk the streets unarmed would be a safer avenue, and thus hit upon the idea of building the gyms.

Steel Warriors
Photo: @davidclerihew

The first one was set up in Langdon Park, Tower Hamlets, back in 2018, and they’ve recently added two more in Ruskin Park in Lambeth, and Finsbury Park. In partnering with Co-op, Steel Warriors will add another eighteen around the country, all in gang-neutral areas where people can feel comfortable working out. They offer free sessions and classes three times a week, in order to get young people involved and using the gyms – further down the road, Steel Warriors hope to offer mentorship and training programmes to help people gain personal training certificates and apprenticeships.

Really, this project ticks so many boxes: it helps prevent crime, offers education opportunities, promotes health and fitness, involves recycling, and works at a community level. All of which means we are extremely here for it. Check out their website to find the gyms, donate to their project, and get involved. Honestly, this is one epic flex…

Featured image: @steelwarriors


Also published on Medium.