Community and school gardeners from all over London gathered at The Paradise Co-op, Wandsworth for the Tools Shed giveaway Saturday 24th February. Representatives from a range of gardening projects came to collect the garden hand tools that had been skilfully refurbished by prisoners at HMP Wandsworth, just over the road from The Paradise Co-op.
Tools Shed was piloted at HMP Wandsworth back in 2006 and since then has continued to provide superbly restored tools to schools and community groups in the London area. Currently, Tools Shed is working in 5 prions around the UK, expanding thanks to funding from the Big Lottery’s Reaching Communities, with a further 2 prisons joining in the coming months.
As well as providing much needed tools to schools and community groups, which struggle to afford to buy them, Tools Shed is a successful activity at Wandsworth, where Instructional Officer Paul Robertson runs the workshop. Men learn the practical skills and knowledge involved in bringing a broken and neglected tool back to full use as well as employability skills. The Conservation Foundation is also working to find job opportunities the experience gained through Tools Shed could lead to.
The tools, which are collected in participating recycling depots and garden centres, arrive in all conditions; some are almost as good as new but most need more than a little TLC. Under Paul’s expert eye, the tools are restored to a standard that could arguably be described as ‘better than new’.
With over 200 tools being given away an estimated £3,000 has been saved by the groups collectively, which means school and community gardens can free up much-needed funds for efforts to increase participation and create more green space for everyone to enjoy.
Do you have tools you can donate to the Tools Shed project? Do you need tools for your school or community group? Please follow this link to our Tools Shed page for more information.