Branch needs help to fix base problem

Brian Dobinson at Barnabas Safe and Sound at Morpeth.'REF 1208135264
Brian Dobinson at Barnabas Safe and Sound at Morpeth.'REF 1208135264

TIME is running out for the Morpeth-based branch of a national charity to find a new home.

The Tools for Self Reliance operation, run in the town by local resident Brian Dobinson, may have to close if he does not have some premises to work from by the end of September.

He and others started collecting and refurbishing equipment, which is sent to various rural communities in six African countries via the national headquarters, in 2009 after seeing a feature about three men in Cumbria helping the charity on a local television news programme.

The branch covers a large area of the North East, from the Borders down to parts of North Yorkshire.

Mr Dobinson said: “When we were given the go-ahead to start this branch, we received kind support from Morpeth charity Barnabas Safe and Sound, which provided a free storage facility at its premises in Dark Lane.

“However, it is now required for a major refurbishment and we urgently need to find a new free home, preferably in the Morpeth area, before the end of September otherwise we may have to call it a day as it’s virtually impossible to do this work from my home.

“We get decent support from the Morpeth area and residents are pleased to see tools that are no longer wanted being put to good use elsewhere. Now we’re hoping that someone can step forward and allow the branch to continue.

“I’ve spoken to Geoff Bushell of Morpeth Lions and hopefully they and other community groups may be able to help.”

The tools that can be donated include saws, twist drills, metric taps, screwdrivers, hand-operated bench grinders, builders’ squares, corner trowels, spoke spanners, vices and old sewing machines.

Various works are carried out depending on the state they are in – from repairing part of it and sharpening to tweaking and cleaning.

The charity also provides technical and business training to help people build viable and sustainable livelihoods.

Mr Dobinson said: “The majority of tools we refurbish will last a good 10 to 15 years in Africa and there are some extremely rewarding stories about how the equipment has transformed people’s lives.”

Those who may have suitable premises for the branch or would like to donate some tools can get in touch via email: