The Co-op is teaming up with anti-knife crime organisation Steel Warriors to build 20 open-air gyms across the UK.
The gyms will be made using steel from knives that have been taken off the street, melted down and recycled. The free-to-use gyms, two of which will be built this year, will include gym instructors who will provide training sessions for different abilities.
Local training instructors and sports groups will be invited to use the gyms for free and the Co-op will connect them with local youth groups. The gyms follow the Co-op’s move to stop selling single-pack knives in its stores.
Co-op chief executive Steve Murrells said: “Community spaces have such an important role to play in fostering community spirit and the loss of youth centres and spaces has had a negative impact. This is something unique which makes a positive difference to communities.
“It literally adds steel to communities which are rallying against problems like knife crime by taking the weapons off the streets and turning them into street gyms.
“It’s what we should do as a responsible retailer. It was right to remove the sale of single knives and we’re committed to help strengthen communities and provide opportunities. This will give access to free outdoor fitness equipment to those youngsters who can’t afford gyms with costly fees. This is about investing in their future.”