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As part of Co-op’s aim to help communities to come together to save, support and improve local spaces we’ve partnered with anti-knife crime organisation Steel Warriors. The partnership also forms part of our commitment to Safer Colleagues, Safer Communities campaign as the knives we have taken off the shelves in our stores are helping to make these community gyms. Together we have pledged to boost community health and wellbeing by building street gyms made from recycled knives.

A free space to develop confidence

The new community gyms are made from confiscated knife steel which is melted down and recycled. These gyms are designed to give young people a free space where they can develop confidence in areas impacted by knife crime. The spaces will be accessible for all and aim to boost health and wellbeing by enhancing strength and flexibility.

Together with Steel Warriors we’ve launched our second gym this year in Finsbury Park, this is one of the 20 open air, free-to-use gyms across the UK that Steel Warriors plan to build with our support. As part of the partnership, we are also sponsoring local mentors for each gym built to run training sessions and grow connections within their community. If you’re in the Finsbury or Ruskin Park area (where we launched out first gym in partnership), you can find out more about attending a session here.

We need to protect and create local spaces

I’m very proud of our work with Steel Warriors. Together we are creating and protecting community spaces where people can meet, exercise, play and learn. Which is important for mental and physical wellbeing. Without spaces like this, people become isolated and less active and our young people are less safe on the streets.

Community spaces across the UK are disappearing and we know this has a negative impact on communities and by partnering with organisations like Steel Warriors we can all work together to combat this.

This second gym is just the beginning for our partnership and I’m excited to see the impact we can bring to many more communities across the UK over the next few years as part of our campaign to protect, support or improve 2000 local community spaces by 2022. Spaces is a key area of our community plan, Co-operate 2022, along with wellbeing and skills.

Rebecca Birkbeck
Director of Community Engagement and Shared Value

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