‘Steel Warriors’ recycle blades from knife crime for calisthenics work-out in Poplar
PUBLISHED: 17:02 01 November 2017 | UPDATED: 17:15 01 November 2017
An outdoor physical work-out facility has been built in east London with equipment made of steel melted-down from knives seized in police raids.
The space at Langdon Park in Poplar created by the Steel Warriors charity is the first ‘calisthenics’ facility in the country using the recycled blades from knife crime.
The charity’s “swords into ploughshares” project has recast two tonnes of metal recovered during Met Police raids and weapons sweeps.
“Lives should be built on steel, not destroyed by it,” charity co-founder Ben Wintour said.
“It’s shocking that the knife has become ‘socially accepted’ to carry in the street by certain peer groups.
“We hope to take away the glamour of this trend and address the reasons why young people carry knives.”
The charity is providing an alternative “safe place” for youngsters to use the recycled steel equipment for calisthenics to build physical self-confidence through calisthenics, a form of exercise adopted by prison inmates using body weight to perform movements. Workouts require a level of mental focus and control to perform the physical motions.
The calisthenics gym is the first of a network planned in other areas like the East End which are plagued by knife crime.
The project is backed by the Met Police who regularly carry out weapons sweeps including several this year on housing estates in Bethnal Green and Mile End and parks in Bromley-by-Bow.
Weapons were found by officers hidden away, believed to be ready to use by street gangs, while others have been confiscated or handed in.
Pol Sgt Ben Edgar said: “The recycling has taken knives that were carried with the intent to cause harm and has transformed them into a safe environment.”
Steel Warriors believes the reasons some youths carry knives in the first place are to “protect” themselves and to impress others.
The Langdon Park facility which opened yesterday next to the Spotlight youth club has been created from 57 per cent reclaimed blades by a team of structural engineers, metalworkers and foundries.
It aims to take even more knives off the streets and to drive home the message that carrying a blade is “more likely to ruin a life than save it”.