Today I visited the charity Tools with a Mission and met with Mike Griffin the Chief Executive and Paul White the Fundraising Officer. The business refurbishes and recycles old and used work tools, sort them into trade specific kits, and send them to developing countries in Africa, for projects that create sustainable jobs. There was a huge pile of tools, power tools, sewing machines and vices that were going to Zambia soon.
We heard some great stories of how Tools With A Mission had impacted people, giving them opportunities to both make their own living, but also employ others locally, positively impacting them, by giving them the tools to become tailors, electricians, and other trades. Some of the people that have received a kit in a developing country, have helped fund a school through working in producing furniture in their own carpentry workshop.
The charity has a huge meaning for the volunteers, and they administer a framework for a lot of post-work men to have a purpose, to get up and socialise. They create a setting for people who are lonely, often people who are past their working days or have SEND, to find newfound purpose and meaning, by helping others and working towards a common goal.
The business was established nearly 40 years ago, and they have 70-80 volunteers locally, with the oldest volunteer being 91 years old. Their headquarter is in Ipswich, and they have five vans, 8 paid members of staff, and 450 volunteers’ country wide.
Environmentally, they also do a huge amount of work, as they’re recycling 12,711 tool kits, machines, and large industrial tools, that otherwise would have gone to the local landfill. These old and used machines are given newfound purpose, saving 1,134 tonnes of Co2 emissions every single year, so they are great for the environment. Last year they won the BBC Suffolk Environmental Award, for making a huge impact by recycling tools.