Give Tools

Donate tools at Netley Marsh

From Friday 10th November, we are pausing taking tool donations at our Netley Marsh HQ. This is a temporary measure which will allow us to focus on completing upcoming shipments to Zambia and Malawi before Christmas.

We will be conducting a comprehensive stock take in January so that we can publish new donation lists ready to take sought after items for our projects from February 2024.

Thank you so much for your ongoing support.  If you are already underway with collecting tools for us, please give us a call on 02380 869697 to see if a local collector can help.

Donate tools in your area

You don’t have to live in the Southampton area to donate your preloved tools!  We have a network of volunteers around the UK who act as collection points for donated workshop tools and sewing machines.  Collectors pass donated items to us directly, or make them available to our regional refurbishing groups, who pass them on to us in turn.

To find a volunteer collector or a refurbishing group in your area, please call us on 02380 869697 and we will put you in touch with your nearest contacts.

Tools for Africa

mwanzo-mgumu-garage-sido-dodoma-2015We send tools to Africa in response to specific requests from our project partners in our destination countries.  Our partners tell us what types of tools they need, and the trades which are in demand.  So we only need certain types of tools, such as those which are suitable for carpentry, electrical repair, bricklaying and mechanics.

The tools we send overseas will be used to help people earn a living, so they need to be good quality and in good working order.

Please take a look at our guides below for details of all the items we can use.





What tools do we need?

Any good quality hand tools (NB tools must be metric or with both metric and imperial measurements) or trade quality 240v electric tools for:

  • carpenters
  • builders
  • metalworkers
  • shoe repairers
  • mechanics
  • plumbers
  • electricians
  • dressmaking materials and haberdashery
  • hand operated and treadle machines
  • some electric sewing machines, must be in good working order
  • overlockers

Items we don’t need

  • garden tools
  • battery operated cordless, 110v or domestic quality mains power tools
  • computers or other electronic equipment
  • typewriters and duplicators
  • low quality / disposable tools eg hardpoint saws
  • machinery (except by special arrangement)
  • imperial rules / measures
  • nails, screws, nuts and bolts
  • paints, oils, chemicals
  • gas bottles
  • two man saws

Hand Tools

We are really short of old leatherworking tools like lasting pliers, leather knives and leather punches.  We are also very short of welding clamps and piston ring compressors.  Generally, older hand tools such as sharpen-able saws, planes, screwdrivers, socket sets (metric),
spanners (metric), bench vices, engineers vices, hacksaws, etc, can all be put to good use.  Particularly larger planes such as Stanley & Record No. 7 & 8 jointer planes are somewhat rare.

Power Tools

We can accept any of the following power tools:

  • AEG
  • Bosch
  • Clarke
  • DeWalt
  • Dremel
  • Elektra Beckum
  • Erbauer
  • Fein
  • Ferm
  • Festool
  • Hilti
  • Hitachi
  • Kress
  • Macallister
  • Makita
  • Metabo
  • Millwaukee
  • Paslode
  • Ryobi
  • Sealey
  • Spit
  • Titan
  • Trend

Please download our guide to other brand specific power tools that we can and cannot accept. Power Tools Guidelines

Manual Sewing Machines

We can accept any Singer manual sewing machines – including those housed within treadle base assemblies.

If they have had electric motors added this is still acceptable.

Electric Sewing Machines

We take any model from the following manufacturers only:

  • Bernina
  • Brother
  • Elna
  • Frister & Rossmann
  • Janome
  • Jones
  • New Home
  • Novum
  • Pfaff
  • Singer
  • Toyota

Sewing machines need to be in working order.  Please be careful when checking your machine – just because it works does not mean it is safe to use.

Zig-Zag/Straight Stitch – We send Zig-Zag machines to Africa, however will take Straight Stitch machines as we can use these for spare parts or to sell if possible to raise funds for the charity.

Foot pedals – Wherever possible, please make sure foot pedals are secured to their machines (e.g. using cable ties) as they can become separated and lost in transit.  It can be difficult to find a replacement foot pedal with the appropriate plug that matches the machine.


Haberdashery kits are sent to participants in the vocational training projects we fund and equip in Africa.  The kits are sent alongside electric and hand sewing machines and fabric.

Materials are available in Africa so these haberdashery kits are intended as a start-up kit for each trainee, helping them to earn money once they graduate, to then purchase more materials as needed.

Listed below are the items we are most in need of to make our haberdashery kits.

  • Knitting patterns
  • Sewing patterns
  • New / unused zips
  • Knitting needles
  • Crochet hooks
  • Knitting yarn / wool
  • Crochet yarn / wool
  • Scissors
  • Sewing thread
  • Sewing needles
  • Pins
  • Thimbles
  • Tape measures
  • Safety pins
  • Fasteners / press studs / hooks and eyes
  • Stiffeners / vilene / petersham
  • Trim / lace / rickrack, etc
  • Tailors chalk
  • Seam rippers
  • Buckles
  • Button sets
  • Seam and bias binding
  • Ribbon
  • Embroidery thread
  • Elastic
  • Velcro

We are also pleased to receive new / unused fabric as follows:

  • 1 metre minimum width
  • on the roll if possible
  • 100% cotton preferred

We are not able to accept

  • Suit material
  • Denim or material of similar thickness
  • Silk or other material of similar thickness
  • Curtain material
  • Bedding


When we ship our tools out to Africa, we create specific trade packs that are put into wooden boxes which are built at our workshop at Netley Marsh.  Without the wood, we can’t make the boxes and at this current time, we are in very short supply of timber.

If you are able to find wood/timber, whether that be new or used that can be donated to Tools For Self Reliance, it would be greatly appreciated.  Below, we have listed timber that we use to create the boxes, as well as wood that we cannot accept.  If you have any queries regarding what we can/cannot accept, please do give us a call on 02380 869697.

Sheet Materials

  • Ply, 6mm and upwards – part sheets, full sheets, offcut strips wider than 330mm
  • OSB – 6mm and upwards – part sheets, full sheets, offcut strips wider than 330mm
  • Ply packaging crates.

NB: We cannot accept used shuttering ply as the concrete residue will damage our table saw.

General Timber

Anything relatively nail free which we can cut down to form 25mm x 30mm battens, such as:

  • CLS ‘studwork’ timber – Lengths 900mm and over. Any dimension
  • Roofing batten
  • Fence posts and gravel boards
  • Old or new decking timber (some rot is ok, we can cut round rotten areas)
  • Planks / boards / carcass timbers, etc
  • Roof / floor joists & rafters.

NB: We cannot use pallets, heavily nailed timbers or wood containing woodworm.


What about tools that we can’t send?

We are sometimes donated tools, sewing machines and other items which haven’t been requested, or which are in some way unsuitable or surplus to requirements. We may then:

  • pass them on to other charities who can use them
  • use them in our own workshops and warehouse
  • sell them – at car boot sales, auctions, on ebay, or to specialist dealers
  • recycle them

Any funds that are generated from the sale of tools go towards supporting our work in Africa. Please ask for details.

Where we work