By Matt Atkinson, Chief Membership Officer
On Friday Steel Warriors launched its newest outdoor gym in Lambeth, the first in its partnership with us, and I had the great pleasure of being there to officially open the new community space.
The gym, which is in the middle of Ruskin Park, is seriously impressive and I have no doubt about the positive impact that it will have on the local Lambeth community. Students from a number of the local schools were first on the gym, which promotes calisthenics, a trending sport in the UK which requires using your own body weight to perform a variety of movements to enhance strength and flexibility.
As you know, Spaces plays a key part in our Co-operate 2022 plan, so knowing that we’re enabling communities to come together in this space whilst learning new skills is amazing. The gyms really do encompass all areas of the Co-operate plan: Spaces, Wellbeing and Skills.
The opening was really well attended by a diverse mix of the community, including the Mayor of Lambeth and it was really great to see the enthusiasm for the gym. As I’m sure you’re probably aware, knife crime in the UK continues to be on the rise, there were three deaths in London last week alone due to knife crime.
Every day we see first-hand the problems communities face, and no issue worries people more right now than the tragedy of young lives taken on our streets by senseless stabbings. It’s only right that as a Co-op we have to try and do something to support our communities, to help them work together to improve where they live and keep their young people safe. We don’t have all the answers but partnerships like this one with Steel Warriors have to help.
The gym itself is made of knives that have been surrendered or seized from the streets and melted down. Certified personal trainers will be offering three training sessions a week for a variety of abilities to all of the community. Importantly, these personal trainers will offer mentorship and support to young people within the local community whilst promoting the anti-knife crime message.
Our work with Steel Warriors is complementary of our recent move to stop selling single pack knives in our stores. We’ve actually donated our existing knives to Steel Warriors, so that our future gyms include steel that once sat on our shelves.
The local community were so complimentary about our partnership with Steel Warriors and I left Ruskin Park on Friday evening feeling really inspired and positive about the impact our Co-op can make in our communities.