Our network grew internationally really quickly – within a couple of years to Tunis, Oslo, Barcelona, Iceland, and the US, and all over Italy. Fixfest last year was a testament to the truly international dimension of our work.
While we’ve provided start-up support to a number of groups in the UK, and some already-existing groups have joined our network (announcing events and sharing their repair data with us), we can do more to support groups closer to our home-base, London.
We’re happy to announce that we’ve been granted two years funding from Nesta and the UK’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to actively promote Restart Parties and spread community repair across England. Our events complement public services in that they reduce waste. Nesta and DCMS’ particular interest is in how repair events help create a special space for sharing of skills, especially of people over 50.
We’ve long felt that with the emphasis on electronics, Restart Parties create a unique space for inter-generational skillsharing. There is real interest from young people in learning from the generation that has used computers since their invention.
With this added support, we are building new online tools for groups to mobilise volunteers, and for volunteers to track their own progress and contribute more online, both before and after participating in events. We are also reworking our support and welcome materials, as well as co-creating an insurance product for community electronics repair.
We will reach out to counterparts at some of the larger networks, who we’ve already collaborated with at the grassroots level – we’re thinking of Friends of the Earth, Transition Towns, and Men’s Sheds.
We’ve got many exciting plans underway, including for a UK Fixfest in early October (outside of London!) and a number of innovative opportunities for people to share their skills and ideas online.