After months of fundraising, recruiting and planning, we’re delighted to have launched our first Fixing Factory in the Abbey Road Reuse and Recycling Centre, Brent, on Saturday 23rd April. This will be the first of two Factories that we’ll be launching this year, in a pilot project funded by the National Lottery Community Fund. Find out more about the Fixing Factories.
The Brent Fixing Factory will be hosted by the West London Waste Authority. It will be led by project partner Ready Tech Go, who will focus on repairing donated laptops and tablets and passing them on to people without digital access.
Visitors to the site will be able to donate devices, see how they’re repaired and find out about the project. Those keen to learn about repair will have a chance to volunteer on the site and get work experience.
We’ll also host regular weekend events with local partners, where visitors will be able to get involved in a more hands-on way. Ideas so far include workshops on laptop repair, and an opportunity to bring your own laptop for fixing.
In a couple of months, the second Fixing Factory, on a Camden high street will open, run by Possible. This one will offer repair of a wider range of small electronics, as well as workshops, a community space and possibly even a retro gaming arcade.
If you have ideas for either site, or would like to collaborate on an event please comment in the box below.
What are we aiming to achieve?
With the Fixing Factories, we want to do a few things.
An obvious goal is to make electronics last longer, to prevent unnecessary e-waste and the huge amount of carbon emissions involved in the production and transport of new devices.
The pandemic helped make clear the importance of digital inclusion: for school children as well as plenty of others. But the problems are far from solved, as asylum seekers, job seekers and many others still lack access. The rescued and refurbished laptops will help these people gain life-changing digital access.
We also want to get more people thinking about repair and reuse of electronics. As well as boosting awareness that laptop repair or donation is an option, we’re also keen to engage young people, who could benefit from learning the skills involved in laptop repair. We’re working with local partners to find out what young people want, we’re offering a training course with partners Mer-It, and people will be able to learn through volunteering.
And we want to create a blueprint for Fixing Factories around the country. Fixing Factories in waste facilities will work very differently to factories run on a highstreet. Our pilot project will work out the best ways to run reuse and repair centres in both locations. We hope to be able to scale up our learnings, leading to fixing factories popping up across the UK (and hopefully beyond!) in years to come.
Get involved and find out more
Find out more about both Fixing Factories, and find out how to visit the Brent site at www.fixingfactory.org. You can you can sign up for email updates in the form below.
If you’d like to volunteer, please get in touch here, and select the Volunteering – Fixing Factory option.
And we’d love to know what you think. Let us know your ideas in the comments below: