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Restart Podcast Ep. 84: Repairmongers, remakeries, and repair hubs

repair hubs

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This month, join us for an expert panel on community-led high street repair! We gathered together Katie Bellaris from Re:Make Newport, Elaine Brown from Edinburgh Remakery, Sue Briggs from The General Store Selkirk, and Lorna Montgomery from Share and Repair Bath to talk about their experiences setting up high street repair projects in their area. We’re hoping that by hearing about their different operating models, approaches, and tips and tricks it will inspire some of you to support repair and reuse on your local high street. 

The money question

All of these ventures run with slightly different business models and approaches to funding their work. What they all agree on is the central role of generous donations from their local communities. Whether it’s financial donations, volunteering or donations in cake form, it all helps to keep them running. Sue also taught us a new term, referring to The General Store as a ‘repairmongers’, steadfastly placing themselves as a community institution.

The General Store Selkirk [Photo courtesy of The General Store Selkirk]

Reaching out

We ruminate on how the location and demographics of each project’s local area affects the way that they operate. Whether it is the difference in affluence between Bath and Newport, or the remoteness of Selkirk in comparison to Edinburgh Remakery’s shopping centre location. What Katie loves about Re:Make Newport – echoed by everyone else – is the way that their shop brings people together. 

“The essence of what we do is all about community, it’s about bringing people together. And I love being in the shop and the atmosphere there is electric. You’ve got people of all generations, all ages talking about repair and sharing tips and knowledge and the way that they look at repair and reuse.”

Re:Make Newport's schedule
Inside Re:Make Newport [Image by Mark A Phillips, licensed under CC BY 2.0.]

What about you?

So what if you want to start a project like this? Our panel say ask others for help. They’ve found that other people in the repair space are more than happy to share their expertise and experience. After all, we are all working towards the same goal of more accessible repair and reuse for all. We want a repair and reuse hub in every town across the UK. In London we’re starting with Fixing Factories and can’t wait to see where they take us.

And in case you’re wondering about the cryptic comment in her introduction, in a previous life Sue played a murder victim on the TV show Taggart!


[Feature collage images courtesy of Mark A Phillips, The General Store Selkirk, Edinburgh Remakery]

[Image by Mark A Phillips, licensed under CC BY 2.0.]

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