Doing our bit to help tackle poverty

There are a couple of things that trouble us. One is waste. Like most businesses we produce a lot of it (fortunately mostly wood, which is easy to recycle; but we’d much rather see it reused).

The other is poverty. We’re a business and really enjoy helping our customers improve their quality of life through the garden buildings we supply and install. But we’re all too aware that, while we’re lucky enough to live in relative comfort, there are people across the world who live in desperate conditions because they barely have the means to survive.

This is why, for many years now, we’ve been helping the amazing charity, Tools For Self Reliance.

Tools for Self Reliance Charity
Volunteers across the country help collect old tools and refurbish them for reuse in Africa.

Supporting sustainable livelihoods

Tools for Self Reliance is a UK-based charity with a network of over 750 volunteers with a base down the road from us in Holt, Wiltshire. It provides practical support to tradespeople in some of the poorest parts of the world, by offering them vocational and business training, and equipping them with the tools they need to get started in business and earn a livelihood. Last year it shipped 25,000 tools.

One of Tools For Self Reliance’s most innovative initiatives is to send out pre-assembled kits with refurbished tools and equipment to countries where the need is greatest. Volunteers collect and refurbish the tools and put the kits together.

The kits are a huge help to people in trades as diverse as carpentry and auto-mechanics, bike repair and construction. Without the kits, many tradespeople simply couldn’t get started and wouldn’t be able to make a living. 

Tools for Self Reliance Charity
Tools For Self Reliance helps small business owners in some of the poorest parts of the world get on their feet and make a decent living.

Practical help

So where do we come in? Remember that wood we hate chucking away...? Tools For Self Reliance’s kits are sent to countries as far off as Zambia, Malawi, Ghana, Uganda and Sierra Leone. That’s a long way to travel. So they need to be safely and securely packaged.

Our waste timber and off-cuts are perfect to be salvaged, shaped and nailed together by the volunteer team at Tools for Self Reliance. They skillfully convert our surplus material into strong boxes for the kits to be safely dispatched to their destination.

Tools for Self Reliance Wooden Boxes
We love to see our precious FSC-certified timber going to a good home. What better way to reuse off-cuts than as a crate for self-reliance kits being shipped to Africa?

Geraint Owen, from Tools For Self Reliance’s Holt Workshop, contacted us recently:

“Thank you for letting us raid your scrapwood pile,” he wrote. “Your off-cuts have proved most useful in making the kit boxes for tools to go to Africa. Reports that we get back are really heart-warming. Folk can send children to school, have good food on the table and save for a downturn in trade.”

Tools for changing lives

Tools for Self Reliance is such a great charity and we’re so pleased we can do our little bit to help.

We fully support their ‘teach a person to fish’ philosophy. We love helping a charity that helps people with self-reliance in a practical way, as a sustainable alternative to injecting financial aid into poor economies.

And our scrap timber stays away from the wood shredder and contributes to a great cause with a life-changing social purpose.

Find out more

Find out more here: about how you can get involved with Tools for Self Reliance. They’re always on the lookout for hand tools to help put together their kits. And they recondition Singer sewing machines – so now may be the time to go up to the loft and see if you can find that one your Mum used!

Find out more