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Fixing Factories: exciting new project in London

What a Fixing Factory will look like - two people fixing a laptop together

We’re really excited to announce a new project, made possible thanks to National Lottery funding, in partnership with climate charity Possible, Ready Tech Go, West London Waste Authority, and Mer IT.

National Lottery community fund logo

Together in London, we’re designing and testing two visions of permanent places for community-powered repair: ‘Fixing Factories’. Thanks to more than £190,000 in funding from The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK, the project will work with volunteers and repair businesses on a Camden high street and inside a Brent waste facility.

We’ll turn the Fordist factory on its head and forge new spaces for fixing, learning, curiosity and empowerment. Opportunities for 16-30 year olds, including skills development, training, and paid work – will be central. Our fresh approach, novel locations and community powered design can create new forms of climate action that meet local needs and involve new communities.

We at Restart will be celebrating our tenth year of activity in Camden. We have experience working with communities in different parts of the borough, and we’re keen to target this project at those who can benefit most. We’re new to Brent, but we’ve partnered with West London stars Ready Tech Go and West London Waste Authority, who can help us meet local needs.

Camden’s Fixing Factory

Possible will lead in Camden, securing a storefront space to operate a Fixing Factory focusing on small household appliances and electronics. Devices such as toasters, hand-held electronics, kettles and hoovers are difficult to get fixed – a significant market failure that helps lock low-income households into an expensive cycle of replacement of lower-cost, lower-quality items.

Operating standard opening hours, the Factory will allow residents to:

  • Get their broken products fixed on a ‘donate as you feel’ model
  • Join repair workshops/1-2-1 learning sessions (including online)
  • Learn how waste, fixing and reuse affect the climate crisis and discuss systemic solutions
  • Discover funded training opportunities via our partner Mer-IT
  • Access community space for networking, volunteering and socialising

The Factory will host local professional repairers working ‘front of house’, bringing the intrigue of fixing into public view. To broaden the Factory’s appeal, attract new people and diversify revenue we will explore offering low-cost community space hire after hours, hosting a community cafe on local concession, opening a retro gaming arcade.

Brent’s Fixing Factory

In partnership with West London Waste Authority (WLWA) and local grassroots group Ready Tech Go (RTG), we’ll create a laptop Fixing Factory inside Abbey Road recycling centre. Local volunteer and professional repairers will repurpose computers for local school children out of adapted shipping containers, putting fixing on show and engaging residents dropping waste. Young people will be invited to learn and volunteer onsite, with training and work experience pathways available again through Mer-IT.

We don’t believe live repair at a mass discard site has been done before – and want to test how effective this contrast is in reducing e-waste and changing behaviour. Besides daily repair, we’ll host public events demonstrating how laptops can have valuable second lives and facilitating deeper learning about solutions to the impacts of e-waste.

We’re hiring

To make this a reality, we’re hiring for a total of three roles – one full-time role with Possible (fixed term contract) focusing on Camden, one full-time role with Restart (fixed term contract) helping in both sites and closing soon, and one full-time role with Ready Tech Go (fixed term contract).

Get involved by leaving a comment below

Do you have some ideas that can help us design these Factories? Our approach has been grounded in the needs of communities where we’ll be operating, since we even conceived of this project, and will continue to be. Please let us know in the comments or get in touch directly.

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16 responses

  1. David Behar

    Amazing! When and how can I bring a group of young men I look after for a repair workshop in Camden?

  2. Ugo Vallauri

    Hi David, the Camden Fixing Factory will open in early summer. Watch this space for updates. In the mean time, keep an eye on our website for other community repair events across London

  3. Kathie Conn

    Empowerment, repair, collaboration, bringing empty premises into serving and enriching community, just brilliant!

  4. Nat

    Any idea when these will open? I have a broken TV…

  5. Ugo Vallauri

    Hi Nat, the Camden Fixing Factory would be the correct one to try to repair a broken TV – but it will only open in early summer. In the mean time, you could try take it to an upcoming Restart Party in London (https://therestartproject.org/parties), or look for a reliable TV repair business in our Repair Directory (https://therestartproject.org/directory)

  6. Mags

    What about us wrinklies?? I’m 60 years old and have been repairing my stuff from YouTube videos…be nice to have some help from a flesh and blood person who i could ask questions…you only talk about the young.

  7. Kerasia Karagiannopoulou

    I have a toaster that needs repair. Where can I bring it ? Or any repair workshops for that please?
    Thanks

  8. Ugo Vallauri

    Hi Mags, the Fixing Factories will be open to everyone, just like our Restart Parties. But we want to make sure that younger people get more exposed to repair than they have been.

  9. Ugo Vallauri

    Hi Kerasia, while the Factories aren’t open yet, you can visit an upcoming repair event local to you: https://therestartproject.org/parties/

  10. This is such exciting news. I run the Tunbridge Wells Repair Cafe and on the back of this I’ve just posted on Nextdoor whether there is anyway to help divert items that can be fixed from our local dump to repair them and prolong their life.

  11. Pam

    Will there be any repair parties or shops in East London

    1. Janet - Restart

      Hi Pam, Hackney Fixers host regular Restart Parties in East London, and there are signs of more activities out East. We’re focusing our efforts on Camden and Brent for the Fixing Factory project for this year. In future, anything is possible!

  12. Jo

    Hi Any news about when and where for the Camden Fixing Factory. I have an espresso machine with sentimental value that I want to get mended somehow.

  13. Ugo Vallauri

    Hi Jo, the Camden Fixing Factory will open this summer. In the mean time, you can visit an upcoming London Restart Party: https://therestartproject.org/london

    If more urgent, you could try contacting a business in our Repair Directory of reliable businesses, for example: https://therestartproject.org/repairdirectory?rd_business=609

  14. Karen

    Good news to have a Camden ff.
    Where are you?
    Do you have a phone number ?
    I have items to fix.
    Thanks
    Karen

    1. Fiona Dear

      We’re in the process of sorting out a premises for the Camden Fixing Factory. You can sign up to hear updates about the Fixing Factories at the bottom of this page: http://www.fixingfactory.org/about.

      Alternatively you can find a restart party in London which you can bring your things to here – therestartproject.org/London

      Good luck with the fixing!

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