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Restart Podcast Ep. 77: Reflecting on our first 10 years

Restart team and collaborators at our 10th birthday

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It’s a bumper episode this month but how could it not be when we’re celebrating the 10 year anniversary of our first Restart Party! This episode is an auditory snapshot of Restart as we head into our second decade as an organisation. Earlier in the month, we got together with volunteers, allies, longtime collaborators and supporters to celebrate the last 10 years. While we were there, Dave caught up with some of our guests for a moment of conversation and reflection. 

Back to the beginning

So first, how are we all feeling? Ugo and Janet both reflect on the initial goals of Restart and why they started the organisation. They were inspired by their work in the Global South and witnessing how people kept their things going – often out of necessity. Seeing this in contrast to overconsumption in the Global North, pushed them to bring that approach to the London community. Ugo discusses how surprised he was by the enthusiasm they saw at that first event and how it has only continued to motivate our work since. From our founders to trustees, looking back on the last decade is emotional and rewarding. 

“We figured out that it was entirely possible, doable, and actually quite exciting and fun. And that has been always at the heart – making sure that it is fun, it’s inclusive, it’s engaging, and it increases your own confidence in trying to repair and save things from getting lost and wasted.”

Ugo says that Restart’s aims have not actually changed very much in the last decade. Rather, they have scaled up and found other avenues through which to make change. While the community events that Restart was founded on are still key to our strategy. So is Right to Repair campaigning, data interpreting and system change at scale.

How has fixing impacted you?

We hear from trustees and historic volunteers about their favourite moments of Restart and their favourite fixes. The overwhelming answer seems to be: all of them! And there is a clear sense that what is gained from community repair is not just the working device but the knowledge gained and skills shared. 

“Whatever you are fixing, it’s just as much fun…Even if it’s a simple fix, somebody goes home happy. You got home happy because you found something interesting out about something, had a nice chat with someone. That’s what the important thing is the human relationships.”

Ugo gives praise to our volunteers for always being here to help us learn and grow. Whether it is explaining the technicalities of repairs, to providing essential feedback on how best to run events, our community are vital.

Feeling proud of the past, and looking to the future

Ugo shares some of his proudest moments in Restart’s last decade. He highlights the policy gains that we have made and the growth and influence of Right to Repair across Europe and elsewhere. We have a long way to go but we are more than ready to take this work on. He points out that we will not achieve our goal by relying on manufacturers to make altruistic change. Rather, we need to push lawmakers to legislation that guarantees our Right to Repair. This way, we can reduce waste and make a dent in the massive challenge of the climate crisis. (We’re also super happy to hear that the podcast itself has been influencing policy makers!)

Janet also highlights the need to work more with young people. Whether by upping numbers of younger attendees at events or training the next generation of professional repairers. This work has already begun with the Fixing Factory project and partnerships with amazing organisations like Mer-IT. Getting the public and new faces involved is a big part of how we hope Restart’s message can continue to grow.

Thanks to Janet, Mike, Fidi, Sophia, Ben, Panda, Dave, and Stefania for talking to us. And thank YOU for being a part of Restart in the last 10 years – we hope you are looking forward to the next decade.

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[Feature image by Mark A Phillips, licensed under CC BY 4.0.]

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