For more than 10 years the Rotary Club of Rushden Chichele has supported Tools for Self Reliance, a nationwide organisation based in Clare Street, Northampton.
It is based in an old building behind a large wooden gate near the traffic lights. Once inside the small yard you are surrounded by boxes, tools and bikes, but enter the building and you are in a newly decorated kitchen where you will most likely be offered a cup of tea and a guided tour.
Further inside there are racks of tools and parts of tools all around and several benches with “refurbishers” seated at them.
They strip out the good parts of tools, grind the rust and wear from them, paint them and store them. Another bench will put the tools together, test them out and put them into “sets” ready for boxing up into sizeable crates.
Each crate contains the tools needed by a person in Africa to set up a small business such as shoe-making, woodworking, gardening , farming, car maintenance etc.
Tools that are not useful in Africa (like garden forks – they just don’t use them) or tools too uneconomic to send are sold at local sales or at the centre.
While there you could see a good-looking bicycle with price tickets of £20 to £30.
The organisers are all volunteers and those who renovate the tools are disabled people from around the Northampton area, so the project provides recycling, employment for disabled people and a positive way to help enterprising men and women in the developing world.
Tools are given to Tools For Self Reliance by all kinds of people and organisations – people like the Rotary Club of Rushden Chichele. If anyone has old garden tools, car maintenance equipment, shoe-making tools or similar articles, broken or not, please contact David Wilson of the Chichele Club on 01933 663572, or better still go to Clare Street, Northampton, and see for yourself.