A HAMPSHIRE charity says it could lose a vital part of its workforce if Britain crashes out of the EU.

Tools for Self Reliance (TFSR) fear a no-deal Brexit would result in the charity being deprived of the funding it needs to host young volunteers from the continent.

The Netley Marsh-based charity collects and refurbishes second-hand tools which are then shipped to the poorest parts of Africa.

For more than two decades TFSR has been welcoming volunteer helpers as part of a European exchange programme paid for by the EU.

Each year the charity is awarded up to £40,000 to cover the cost of hosting people who spend 12 months helping out in the workshop. They are the only volunteers who spend five days a week in the building and thus make a major contribution to the charity’s work.

But Brexit is now just weeks away - with no sign of a deal being reached.

Daily Echo:

A TFSR spokesman said: “No deal will mean the abrupt end of EU funding to the charity, which relies on the support of these young people.

“As well as supporting our work, they have often formed great and lasting friendships with the charity’s regular volunteers, who are primarily local retired people. The daily tea break is always a time of lively cultural and generational exchange.”

Each year the charity welcomes three or four volunteer helpers from various part of Europe.

Jo Shannon, the charity’s European Voluntary Service (EVS) co-ordinator, added: “Hosting young volunteers from all over Europe is part of what we do.

Daily Echo:

“Over the years so many young people have gone away from Netley Marsh having had a wonderful experience and knowing they’ve made a difference to people living in poverty.

“Our current volunteers from Austria and Germany will be able to complete their project, but after that we don’t know what will happen.”

TFSR was formed in 1980 with the aim of reducing poverty in Africa by giving people the tools and training they need to transform their lives. Its patrons include Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Last year 25,000 tools were shipped to countries such as Ghana, Malawi and Sierra Leone.