The Co-op has teamed up with anti-knife crime charity Steel Warriors to develop 20 free community gyms.
The project uses steel from knives that have been taken off the street and melted down to be reused.
Two new gyms in public spaces will be built this year, which will also feature gym instructors, providing training sessions for different abilities, to share skills and improve physical and mental wellbeing within communities.
The gym equipment promotes a fitness technique known as calisthenics, which uses bodyweight for resistance through pulling, pushing, bending, jumping or swinging actions.
The trainers will be funded by the Co-op. They will run training sessions for different abilities every week.
The initiative follows Co-op’s move to stop selling single pack knives in its stores.
“Knives will be taken off the streets and melted down to create new community spaces for people to come together to learn and build new skills, through street workouts which enhance their physical and mental wellbeing,” said Co-op CEO Steve Murrells.
“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.”
Steel Warriors co-founder Ben Wintour added: “We are really glad to be working with Co-op and our supporters to get more gyms built and to grow our vision into one that offers pro-active support to communities nationwide.”