Rugby charity 'heartbroken' as cruel thieves destroy 'essential' van - The Rugby Observer

Rugby charity 'heartbroken' as cruel thieves destroy 'essential' van

Andy Morris 3rd Feb, 2023   0

‘HEARTBROKEN’ and ‘outraged’ volunteers at a Rugby-based charity are appealing for help after thieves destroyed a van which is essential to its work.

The charity Tools with a Mission (TWAM) is looking for support from local companies after staff came into their Rugby refurbishment centre to find the front end of their van completely missing.

Cruel thieves had removed the engine, the gearbox, the bonnet, and the driver’s seat the previous night.

TWAM says the van – which is used daily to collect donated tools from around the country so they can be refurbished and sent to Africa – is completely unusable and will likely be written off, in a ‘devastating blow’ to the charity’s work.

Ian Schoolar, deputy volunteer manager at the Rugby centre, said: “I am absolutely gutted. How could someone do this to a charity?”

CEO Mike Griffin added: “With the cost of living crisis hitting our income hard and expenses going through the roof, this is heartbreaking, and we desperately need some local support.

“This van is an essential part of our work. It was purchased only one year ago, thanks entirely to a grant.

“Tools that are donated by members of the public and collected by the charity’s network of volunteers are picked up by the van and brought back to their refurbishment centres.

“Without this van, tools have no way of getting to the centres where they will be refurbished and sent off to skills training centres in Africa.”

Frieda, a tailor from Zambia, escaped poverty thanks to sewing machine donated by Tools with a Mission.

TWAM is asking businesses and local philanthropists to consider supporting the charity by replacing the van or contributing towards a new one.

And – after police told TWAM it couldn’t continue to keep a van in its yard as it will most likely be targeted again – the charity is appealing for a secure space where it can keep a new vehicle.

TWAM has been sending refurbished donated tools to Africa and keeping them out of UK landfills since 1984. The tools are sent to organisations that teach vulnerable members of society valuable skills such as carpentry, tailoring, and mechanics – giving them the power to generate their own income and start their own careers.

Frieda from Zambia had her life transformed by her sewing machine. She couldn’t afford to feed her eight children, nor send them to school – but since she received a machine and became a tailor, her family have been able to eat every single day and begin their education.

Mr Griffin added: “This is the true impact of TWAM tools. Without a van, thousands of people will be unable to break free from their lives of poverty and suffering.”

To offer help to the charity, contact Fundraising and Communications Officer James Noble at [email protected] or on 07738 494005.

Visit for more information about the charity.


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