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Steel Warriors

2234. Ben Wintour

Ben Wintour, from London, co-founded ‘Steel Warriors’, in 2017, and has built four outdoor gyms across London using steel from recycled knives confiscated by the police.

Ben Wintour

Ben wanted to strengthen the messaging around the impact of carrying knives, and build something positive from the knives themselves. He carried out research working with youth centres, police, and community groups to understand why young people carry knives, which led him to the idea of building outdoor gyms. Each gym is built from around two tonnes of recycled steel, and provides an alternative, safe space for young people to build physical self-confidence through calisthenics, a form of exercise using body weight to perform movements. Hundreds of people use the equipment on a weekly basis, which contain scannable codes, demonstrating how to use the equipment. The initiative also runs ‘Street Workout’ and ‘Mentality’ programmes focused on helping young people affected by crime, violence and social exclusion.

In a personal letter to Ben, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: 

“Your vision for Steel Warriors is creative, powerful, and making a huge difference to some of the most disadvantaged communities in the country.

“You are helping take knives off the street. You are giving thousands the chance to lead stronger, healthier lives. And you are helping vulnerable, at-risk young people to build self-confidence and realise their potential.”

Congratulating Ben on his award, Marsha De Cordova, Ben’s local MP for Battersea, said:

“I am incredibly proud of my constituent Ben Wintour for co-founding ‘Steel Warriors’ and his commitment to supporting young people in London.  By taking knives off our streets, he is making our city safer and giving hope to thousands of young people to dream of a better future. We can all be inspired by his work of turning a negative into a positive so that lives should be built on steel, not destroyed by it.”

Ben said:

“I am extremely grateful to accept the Points of Light award from the Prime Minister for my work with ‘Steel Warriors’. I hope this award will raise greater awareness of the change we are seeking to make and further demonstrate that lives should be built on steel, not destroyed by it.”

Find out more about ‘Steel Warriors

The daily Points of Light award recognises outstanding individual volunteers - people who are making a change in their community.

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