Hope Tools, part of the Hope Centre charity working in Northampton, is one of the newest community projects to join the Community Fund’s list of recipients. We are a social enterprise, active since 2011, which recycles old garden tools and repairs them, making them as good as new, and then selling them on to support our work. However, the people who do the repairing are people who have experienced all kinds of issues in their lives, such as long term unemployment, homelessness, substance misuse mental health problems, and offending.

In our sheltered workshop, people work together under supervision from an experienced trainer, taking on work across the full range of what we do – stripping down the tools, replacing the handles if needed, polishing and sharpening the blades, and then painting and re-assembling them. People can also be involved in tool sales and collection of donations, and even in advertising the sales through social media. It helps improve skills and employability. In the picture you can see us selling tools to celebrate Social Saturday 2017 – the day when social enteprises tell the world about what they do!

In the last few weeks we have seen one of our longest serving trainees and casual employee, Dwayne (pictured), move on to a full time permanent job elsewhere doing a similar job to what he did for us. Dwayne came to us after being unemployed, and we helped him build his confidence and move on into better paid work that we could not offer. We are really pleased for him – he’s a great success story.

We like to think of this as a project which recycles both tools, and people.