Doing good for others for personal benefit too

In our last Suffolk Money podcast of 2022, Colin Low is on location to meet the dedicated team at Ipswich-based UK charity Tools With A Mission. The warehouse is a hive of activity, as volunteers collect and refurbish a vast array of unwanted tools, before sorting them into trade kits and sending them to the developing world for livelihood creation.

The group’s chief executive Mike Griffin explains how by recycling unwanted tools, not only are they able to create sustainable livelihoods that transform communities across the continent of Africa, but also address the issue of stuff being needlessly dumped in landfill, here in the UK.

Volunteers across the country collect unwanted items – from DIY and gardening tools to sewing machines and computers – which are taken to their warehouse and carefully refurbished by the team at the Ipswich HQ. They then assemble kits for every kind of trades-person (including carpenters, mechanics, plumbers, builders and tailors), ensuring that the people who receive them will have everything they need to start their own business, affording them independence and sustainability.

Sending tools rather than money reduces the danger of corruption and provide vital support for communities where unemployment is very high; as many of the volunteers at Tools With A Mission have seen first-hand when they’ve visited some of the African countries that this charity has worked with.

However, as many of the volunteers explain, it’s not just communities in Africa that benefit from this charity. Although most volunteers join to help those in need, they quickly discover that the social interaction and sense of camaraderie they enjoy through volunteering, is as transformative to their own lives. This, together with the environmental benefits of re-using unwanted items makes for ‘a triple win’, as volunteer Jim says!

For more information or to find out how you can help, volunteer or donate to Tools With A Mission, please visit:

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Members of the TWAM team in Ipswich