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Penarth volunteers start charity from scratch – Tool Aid Cymru

SEVERAL volunteers in Penarth took it upon themselves to start a new charity to provide thousands of tools to Sub-Saharan Africa after the closure of their previous base earlier in the year.

Tools with a Mission (TWAM) which collected, cleaned up and shipped unwanted tools to those in need, and has been established in Penarth for nearly 15 years, closed in January of this year due to loss of funding.

The year 2020 had also been a slow period for the charity due to the Covid-19 pandemic, with tool collections all but tailing off during this period.

However, the dedicated volunteers wanted to continue helping transform the lives of the recipients and their families, and decided to start up an independent based that is self-financed to continue to carry out the work formerly done by the TWAM base.

Five volunteer trustees took on the challenge of starting up a new charity from scratch, with advice sought from the Vale of Glamorgan Voluntary Services (GVS) organisation, and the process started in Autumn 2020.

Penarth Times: Andrew Kelland at work at the previous TWAM base on Dingle Lane Andrew Kelland at work at the previous TWAM base on Dingle Lane

“We researched other similar charities, established objectives for the new charity and developed a business plan including a budget,” said committed member Andrew Kelland.

“Finally by February of 2021, we were able to submit our request for registration.

“There was significant delay at this stage, but after some three months and answering an email request for clarification, unfortunately our submission was refused.

“This was a devastating blow, but following discussions again with the GVS organisation we decided to appeal the decision as we believed we had a solid case.

“We followed the request for review by submitting a reasoned argument justifying our cause.

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“Happily, the charities commission reverted with a few minor suggestions for modification to our submission, following which, we were finally granted charitable status on September 8.

“All the work group discussions and development of documentation has been done through zoom meetings.

“In early lockdown periods availability of the group was never an issue, but as the processed dragged out and the covid restrictions were eased, it was more difficult to keep the group together.

“It was the belief in the value and ethos of what we were trying to achieve which has kept everybody on board.”

They are now registered as a new charity named Tools Aid Cymru.

Since restrictions have eased, the group have resumed the collection of tools, including in a temporary storage facility in Hebron Hall, Dinas Powys.

“We now send a van of tools off to TWAM as we have always done approximately every six weeks,” added Mr Kelland.

“Our plans, having achieved charitable status for Tool Aid Cymru are now to establish out workshop, so we can resume tool refurbishment and are seeking a workshop type premise in the order of 130 square metres, with power, and water in the Penarth area.”

If you would like to donate tools in the Penarth/Cardiff area or would be interested in volunteering in the new workshop please contact Roger Flambert on [email protected]

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