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The Team Behind the Tools: Tools-In Bench

Every tool that comes into our refurbishment centre starts its journey of transformation in the “Tools In” section.

A smiling man standing next to a bench covered in tools
Paul sorting the tools which our vans have brought in

Our Refurbishment Centres are bustling hubs of activity, where vans brimming with tools of all shapes and sizes pull up, ready to unload their cargo.

Here, our team breathes new life into these tools, setting the stage for a transformative journey that begins right here in the 'Tools In' section.

As the vans pull up, our dedicated team of staff and volunteers spring into action. It's no easy task - some items like the heavy foot-powered treadle sewing machines require the collective effort of two people. Every tool is part of our mission to bring about transformation in the African communities where it is needed most.

A man standing next to a bench stacked with tools
Mike tackling the mountain of tools on the bench

Once inside, the tools are meticulously organised. Some bear the telltale signs of a long life, the deep rust and broken parts marking their age. These tools, deemed too worn to journey on, are responsibly recycled, ensuring nothing goes to waste.

Sorting the tools is an exercise in knowledge and keen observation, and our volunteers quickly learn the value of each item. From screwdrivers to sewing machines, every tool finds its place, ready to be refurbished and packed.

It's a crash course in tool identification that challenges and inspires, especially when we stumble upon mysterious, unusual tools donated to us. There's a real sense of camaraderie here. Friendly discussions are had, and theories are put forth as we try to decipher the purpose of the more peculiar tools.

Sheldon, our sharp-witted Ipswich Refurbishment Centre Supervisor, usually cracks the code with the help of our knowledgeable team of volunteers, many of whom come from careers in trades.

Two men working on a bench covered in tools
Brian and Mike sorting the incoming tools

Paul, one of our volunteers who helps TWAM in many ways, including working on the bench, says:

“There are so many tools I have never seen before. Some are covered in rust, and some shining even though they’re 40 years old. It’s a lot to sort, but no matter how much comes in, we know it’s all needed by TWAM and the people who receive our tools.”

The cycle of receiving, sorting, and sending off tools for refurbishment continues day after day, the 'Tools In' section buzzing with activity, and every van emptied in time for the next.

The story of each tool reflects the generosity of our supporters who choose to give their tools a second life, rather than leave them to rust away or end up in landfills.

Each tool's journey, from rusted relic to indispensable equipment, mirrors the impact we aspire to make - turning hardship into hope.


Start a TWAM Local Group

If you’re interested in supporting our work by collecting tools, offering talks, and even doing some light refurbishment with like-minded friends, consider starting a TWAM Local Group.

Our Local Groups have a great community spirit and provide huge support for TWAM. For more information on starting or joining a Local Group, click here.


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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