2018 Annual Report

Change in perception and behaviour
Networking for resilience
Devices that are sustainable and effective regulation
Organisational structure and development (including fundraising)
Plans for the Future

Main Activities & Achievements for 2018

The Restart Project had a very successful 2018, thanks to our team of staff and volunteers. We spent much of the year working on developing our software platform to support communication and collaboration between our volunteers and to assist with measuring the impact of events, continuing to work with our European partners on the right to Repair and hosting Fixfest UK for community repair activists.

We produced a set of educational materials highlighting the raw materials that are used in our electrical devices. These are used in conjunction with mobile phones which are dismantled. We launched our repair directory to businesses, waste authorities and volunteers.

Change in perception and behaviour

In order for change to occur, people have to want to make it happen. We want to encourage more people to start thinking about the entire lifecycle of their devices, from resource extraction to disposal and to see this awareness reflected in their behaviour and decision-making.

Increasing our media presence

In 2018 we reached over 10 million people globally with online and broadcast media, including 6.5 million people in the UK. Of these, over 3 million were in radio and TV appearances, and 3.5 million in web and print. This included an appearance on BBC Breakfast for a 5-minute segment on our throwaway society and how we can repair more, which led to a number of interviews on local BBC radio stations.

Radio show & podcast

Throughout the year, we produced a fortnightly radio show and documentary podcast, which were broadcast in London on Resonance FM and available for streaming and download. In 2018 we produced 39 radio shows and podcasts, including interviewing activists, experts, creatives and academics. Subjects included Stories of women in STEM for Ada Lovelace Day, 3D printing in Gaza and talking to Rico Cerva, the independent professional repairer who claims to fix the impossible. Our broadcasts have an international audience (UK, USA, Australia, Spain and beyond) and achieve over 2,000 listens per month. Many of our listeners have become volunteers at our Restart Parties.

Research and Evaluation

We have started work with external evaluators from Resource Futures to test new ways of monitoring the impact of repair events beyond the immediate repair, focusing on attitudes and practices.


We have started work on a range of educational materials for the REFER project (Raw Engagement for Electronics Repair), funded by KIC Raw Materials, working with universities across Europe. This included information cards to be handed out which contain information about the raw materials used in the production of our electrical items and hopefully inspire people to think twice before they dispose of their devices. These materials were used in conjunction with a mobile phone which is in pieces, with the challenge to put it back together. This proved particularly popular with children at our events.

People can access stronger local repair networks

In 2018 The Restart Project continued to grow repair networks in the UK and internationally, including community repair groups, repair SMEs, and companies to promote repair best practice and to forge links between them.

Community Repair

We continued to run regular Restart Parties, community events where participants bring along their broken electrical items and repair them collaboratively with our teams of volunteers known as ‘Restarters’.

We have increased our interaction with our volunteers, both those in London and those further afield and online. In London we ran several skillshares, Rosie the Restarters skillshares for women and non-binary people, volunteer socials, and induction sessions for new volunteers.

To assist communication and collaboration between members of our community, we launched a software platform, Restarters.net, to help our volunteers manage their events and measure their impact, and provide somewhere to share their knowledge with others. The discussion forum is proving very popular with users. We now have international discussions with participants from Barcelona to Bueno Aires to London sharing repair stories and tips.

In 2018 members of our extended network held 235 events in the UK and internationally attended by 3,535 participants, preventing 3,763kg of waste with 6,153 hours volunteered.

Representatives of the newly formed Glasgow Repair Cafe group came to London on a visit to see how we run community events and were particularly interested in sustainability. This is a good example of sharing best practice.

Fixfest UK

We held a very successful Fixfest UK in Manchester in October 2018, an event bringing together the UK community repair movement. We limited attendance to people who were actively involved in community repair initiatives. Attendees came from repair groups in Belfast to Leeds to Brighton. Feedback to our post-event survey was very positive and everyone left feeling uplifted and inspired.

At the event, attendees created the Manchester Declaration which calls for UK policymakers and companies to take seriously our desire to repair and keep products for longer. This has attracted signatures from community repair groups and from other ally groups, such as Greenpeace UK, Green Alliance and Bioregional.

International Repair Day

A key moment of engagement was the second International Repair Day on 20th October 2018, celebrated online as well as with events in the UK and around the world. It was a success with over 150 events worldwide.

Commercial Repair Business mapping

We released a new version of our Repair Directory tool, allowing signposting to reliable local repair businesses. We were awarded a grant from North London Waste Authority to expand the area covered to 11 boroughs. This version was launched at a small event where repair businesses, Waste Authorities and volunteers were invited. This tool complements our community repair events, and can be used when a repair cannot be completed.

Devices that are sustainable and effective regulation

Restart’s work in influencing policy-makers and manufacturers of electronics aims to raise the profile of the issues around product lifetime and repairability. We aim to take advantage of opportunities for influence at local level (Greater London Authority), as well as at national and European level.

We’ve become a respected partner in resource policy in both London (with invites and collaboration from Green Alliance) and Brussels.

European Right to Repair

We’ve been very active in our efforts to put together a long-term European right to repair campaign. Despite the uncertainty on Brexit, this is strategic for us, as a change in regulation in the EU is most likely going to impact positively regulation in the UK as well. Our main focus continues to be ensuring that campaigning for Right to Repair brings together the energy of citizens active in community repair, as well as the issues faced by repair businesses. Partners have agreed on a basic vision for the campaign, and a governance structure is emerging thanks to our steer.

We have applied to join the European Environment Bureau (EEB), a strong network of environmental civil society organisations, working on environmental policy at EU-level. EEB is moving in the direction of creating a long-term European Right to Repair campaign, and we have a strong opportunity to shape the campaign and ensure it includes the voices of community repairers and independent repairers too.

Back in September, we launched an online petition asking the UK to stop the blocking key measures in the European Commission’s “Circular Economy Package” which include provisions to make appliances and electronics more repairable and longer-lasting. We were able to mobilise support quickly from partners in our community.

Collecting data to support advocacy

We made progress on our Open Repair Data Standard with Open Repair Alliance partners.

The ultimate goal is to build a large dataset on recurrent faults and other barriers to repair, to reinforce our policy arguments with manufacturers and support efforts from policy makers.

We’ll be releasing a new version of the standard and we’ve started conversations with partners on improving data collection on availability of spare parts and repair information guides.


Public Speaking

We participated in several events over the course of the year, reaching thousands of people and expanding the visibility of our work:

  • Lush Showcase, Manchester – as part of a two-day event Lush built a dystopian/utopian mobile phone shop. We had a stall to run a Restart Party and talk about Restart.
  • ShedFest – an opportunity for members of the Men’s Shed movement to meet and exchange ideas. We had a stall to promote repair and Restart Parties as possible activities for Men’s Sheds.
  • ShareFest, Totnes – an event celebrating all things related to sharing, repairing, swapping and making.

Organisational structure and development (including fundraising)

Organisational Structure

Day to day management of the charity was overseen by the two co- founders, working full-time and leading a core staff team: Tech & Data lead, Online Community lead, Operations lead, London Network lead and Communications Assistant. We also worked with a growing network of freelance consultants to deliver projects.

The Restart Project continued to be a member of the Small Charities Coalition and Good Electronics.

Risk management

The Trustees considered the major risks to the organisation in regular board meetings, in light of updates from the core staff team. The full risk register is considered every six months at trustee meetings to re-evaluate if the risks have increased or decreased. These included governance risks, financial risks, staffing risks, organisational risks and external risks.

All activities run by the Restart Project were covered by its public liability insurance. Staff team and experienced volunteers regularly reviewed and improved the safety guidelines and the model risk assessment for running events.


The main source of funding for the organisation in 2018 continued to be from the Shuttleworth Foundation, which renewed the Fellowship in support to co-founder Ugo Vallauri and invested in the organisational development. The Restart Project was successful in its application for funding from Nesta / DCMS towards its community development work. Additional funding also came from a grant from KIC Raw Materials towards our educational work on critical raw materials, a grant from North London Waste Authority covering the expansion of the Repair Directory and the second year of our grant from Esmee Fairbairn to cover core costs.


We continued to attract new volunteers as well as retaining a dedicated team of experienced Restarters and Party hosts. We value and appreciate the commitment, engagement and enthusiasm of our volunteering community, without which the organisation wouldn’t exist.


Plans for the Future

In 2019, we plan to consolidate much of the work of this year and expand our campaigning, including:

  • continue to become a respected partner and spokesperson on repair and resource policy issues in the UK and internationally;
  • coordinate a European Right to Repair campaign, bringing the voice and experience of grassroots to Brussels and to member states to pressure for better product standards;
  • support international partners to deliver Fixfest Italia and Fixfest 2019 in Berlin;
  • continue to improve our podcast and radio show both in terms of reach and content;
  • continue to develop our open data standard for community repairs together with co-founding groups of the Open Repair Alliance;
  • further improve our suite of software supporting community groups towards more of a “platform strategy”, to allow for greater customisation and online participation of volunteers;
  • improve the quality of the data we collect, working with volunteers to do so, and also helping groups an opportunity to use and learn from volunteer engagement data;
  • become a respected delivery partner and expert on circular economy in the electrical sector.


In 2018 The Restart Project’s income has continued to grow with a total gross income of £383,839 (2017: £244,270).


The largest portion of this income came from grants and donations with an increase to £375,881 rising from £214,578 in 2017. The main restricted grant was £198,566 from Shuttleworth Foundation towards organisational development, an increase from £151,151. We also received restricted funding of £90,000 from Nesta / DCMI towards community development.

The Restart Project received £7,958 from trading activities, a large reduction from £29,692 in 2017. 


The total expenditure of the organisation was £284,900 (2017: £231,432). The largest component of this was staff costs of £179,314 (2017: £154,093). 


We ended 2018 with £127,741 cash reserves which are held in our bank account (2017: £62,941) , including £22,603 of 2019 grant income received in advance.