Posted in The Restart Project Blog, Community Follow our work

Fixfest UK 2023: Let’s strengthen the UK repair movement

a group of people listening to someone speaking

What is Fixfest UK and why should you come?

Fixfest UK 2023 is the biggest gathering of community repair projects in the UK – a chance to connect, share, celebrate and strengthen our fantastic movement. We’re meeting in Cardiff on 30 September 2023.

Participants will share the ideas and energy from our community repair projects in a day that will rejuvenate and inspire us all. Through lively workshops, panel speakers and space to connect, we’ll explore big topics like making our repair groups more inclusive, working with young people, local collaboration and making repair the norm. We’ll hear from leaders in waste and community repair putting our valuable work in context while discussing how to connect with wider local ecosystems and normalise repair across the UK through policy.

Why now?

This gathering couldn’t be more timely. We’re giving people practical, accessible solutions from what to do with that broken kettle to how we can address the big challenges facing us. As we face rising concerns about the climate, waste and resources, as people feel the pinch of fast-rising costs for everyday essentials, and as communities rebuild and reconnect across difference and after the pandemic, community repair offers real impact.

There’s a huge appetite for repair with new repair cafes opening every month. Many councils – seeing the benefits of cutting waste and helping citizens – are keen to support community repair with venues, publicity, support and funding. Pop up repair events make it easy and affordable to get something fixed.

And our movement is innovating, working with new partners and developing in new directions. By running repair workshops and high street repair shops, working in schools, starting spin off projects like libraries of things, we’re providing new paths towards a more sharing, caring economy. Fixfest UK is where you’ll hear and explore the innovation and impact being made across the country.

Fixfest 2022 attendees
Participants at global Fixfest 2022 in Brussels, Belgium (Credit: Mark A Phillips)

What could be… 

And we also know there’s much more potential.

Community repair shows the way to a society where repair is normal, affordable and accessible to everyone. A recent study found 80% of the public would consider repair (PDF) (1) – but we aren’t reaching all those people. Fixfest UK gives us the space to work out how we strengthen our movement, lever more support and attract funding to grow our impact.

Too many gadgets are still impossible to repair – that’s why we need a strong, legal Right to Repair, with manuals and parts readily available (including to repair volunteers) with repairability built in from the start. Repair can feel expensive compared to buying a cheap replacement (which may well need fixing in a year or two). But European countries like Austria, France, Germany and Sweden are experimenting with subsidies for repair – we need more in the UK.

At Fixfest UK, community repair groups will explore our vision for the future of repair, and how we can work together towards that vision.

If you’re reading this and are inspired to start a repair project, fantastic! Please note, this event won’t cover how to start a repair café, but you’ll find loads of useful resources here.

How to get involved

Fixfest UK 2023 is open to all community repair groups in the UK. It’s being organised by The Restart Project and Repair Cafe Wales in collaboration with other members of the Community Repair Network. It is funded by The Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust and is sponsored by SUEZ recycling and recovery UK.

We’re committed to making this event accessible and representative of the whole movement – there are a limited number of bursaries available to help towards travel costs, which you can apply for when booking a reduced price ticket.

We hope you’ll join us for this year’s Fixfest UK on 30 September in Cardiff – book your ticket here.

 


(1) Understanding the thoughts and feelings of consumers around Scotland on share and repair community projects (PDF), Circular Communities Scotland, 2023.

 

Feature image of participants at Fixfest UK 2018, credit: Mark A Phillips

This post was written by members of the Community Repair Network and originally appeared at: https://fixfest.org/news/strengthening-the-uk-repair-movement/

2 responses

  1. Repair rights are essential but not enough people still don’t think about repairing something rather than replacing it.
    I’ve been using Freegle lately, which is great at ensuring reuse and rehoming but too often shows people assuming that their offerings can’t be fixed – or not by them. Can Freegle be linked into the repair movement, so as to help the owners of repairable stuff to get it fixed and continue using it?

    1. James Pickstone

      Hi Diana, thanks for your comment. I think we’d agree that not enough people consider repair as a first response when something breaks. Though the Circular Communities Scotland report we mentioned has some promising findings: around 79% of people asked said they’d look to repair something instead of buying new often, most of the time or all of the time. Of course, that number could always be higher, so Fixfest UK will be all about working together to make repair the norm. It’s interesting to hear about your experience with Freegle too. As it happens, we are already working with Freegle on a plan to cross-promote community repair events from our network and partners on Freegle itself. Watch this space!

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