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A well-oiled machine: inside the Rugby refurbishment centre

Ever wondered what exactly it is like inside a TWAM refurbishment centre? Of course you have. Join us on a whistle-stop tour of our busy centre in Rugby, and see how the process works of preparing a donated tool.

Walk inside the TWAM refurbishment centre for the first time, and you'd be excused for thinking you'd gone back in time. The shrill hum of power tools, the clanking of metal, even the smells of sawdust, rust, old wood, and cardboard - you feel the same, awe-inspiring, adventurous feeling you get when you see a steam train roaring past.

Tools of all shapes and sizes are sorted into groups

The first thing you notice are the bunches of tools everywhere - quite literally up to the roof, in some areas. But the deeper you explore, the more you realise that what looked like chaos is in fact a perfect, organised, well-ordered machine. Suitable for TWAM, really.

Our amazing volunteers are responsible for three stages on the journey of a tool - sorting, refurbishing, and packing. Once the donated tools have been brought to the doors from across the country, they are sorted thoroughly. Garden or agricultural tools stand together, looking like the trunks of great trees at first glance. A dragon's hoard of screws, nuts, bolts, electrical fittings, and multitudinous small parts are carefully categorised. Further inside, mountains of hammers and boxes of chisels rub shoulders with power tools of all shapes, sizes, and ages.

One of our refurbishing volunteers, hard at work!

Once the sorting is done, then the refurbishing begins. One by one, volunteers collect what they need and bring them deeper into the centre, where they are painstakingly cleaned, oiled, done up, and put into one of the many kits TWAM prepare. Each kit is designed to meet the needs of the community who require it, so the system must be followed carefully. Nothing goes to waste. Some tools are sold online, at auctions, or through sales, transforming unwanted items into vital support for TWAM's mission.

Meanwhile, upstairs, the sewing machines and knitting machines are being prepared. Climbing the stairs to this area is like walking into Aladdin's cave. Tools and fabric are sorted and prepared into haberdashery bags, and machinery clinks and clatters on the worksurfaces.

Finally, under the careful eye of our centre managers, the completed toolkits are arranged, like huge bits of LEGO, in piles ready for packing. A forklift waits benevolently, ready to fetch and carry. TWAM tape wraps up the kits, each one an invaluable gift to those living in extreme poverty - a gift of transformation, giving people the tools they need to make a future for themselves.

Some kits being prepared for packing

And all this could not be done without the volunteers. They are the heart and soul of the centre, the foundation of the work TWAM does. It is an eye-opening experience - knowing the sheer power a tool can have, and how much difference this wonderful, noisy, mechanical environment does every single day.

TWAM is always looking for new volunteers - if you have the time to spare to be part of this wonderful journey, please get in touch! You can also follow us on Facebook or sign up to our mailing lists to find out more.


We'd love to tell you more about the impact that we're having. If you'd like to see even more stories of livelihood creation, sign up for our email list and we'll keep you updated.

Quick Links

We take a wide variety of tools. Click the button above for the full list of accepted tools, and to find your nearest local collector or drop-off point.

Our work is mostly done by volunteers, whether that's driving around collecting tools, refurbishing them, or helping out in the office. Have a look at our roles.

Support our work by covering the costs involved with putting together a tool kit, as a donation, or an alternative gift on behalf of a loved one.

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