Tell us a little about yourself.
I have been a member of Hillingdon Friends of the Earth since 1987 and the Coordinator for about two years. A lot of what we do as Friends of the Earth is campaigning against environmentally damaging projects such as airport expansion, so repair is a pleasant positive activity for us.
What inspired you to start hosting Restart Parties? What inspires you to keep on?
About 5 years ago a lady came to one of our Friends of the Earth monthly meetings and told us about the Restart Project. As the concept of repair fits in perfectly with the Friends of the Earth ethos, it didn’t take much encouragement for us to agree to host our own parties. We held our first one in June 2016 and we were holding 2-3 a year until the pandemic struck. We are really looking forward to resuming face to face Restart events, but have had several successful online events jointly with Hackney Fixers. With the challenges facing us due to the climate emergency, we need to spread the word about repair and how much energy and raw materials repairs can save, compared to replacement of items, electronic or otherwise. (We do sewing repairs too).
Did you know anything about tech or electronics before hosting Restart Parties? Have you learned more?
Not a lot, except I am old enough to remember when a new appliance came without a plug attached, so I could and still can wire a plug, but that’s about it! I haven’t learnt as much as I should have, but I now understand about PAT testing, and the need for special tools to get at the well-hidden screws that hamper repair. I enjoy hosting the events, organising the venue, refreshments, inviting the fixers, publicising the event, welcoming guests, taking photos and updating the Fixometer afterwards.
How did you go about getting started and finding volunteers?
We were really lucky that our local libraries are happy to let us have their community spaces free of charge to hold our events and that the West London Waste Authority has given us a tool kit to keep as long as we carry on hosting repair events. Our first event was part of a local week-long community festival, so there was plenty of publicity available which drew in both potential fixers and visitors with broken items. Several members of our Friends of the Earth group are also good fixers and we are lucky that well established fixers are happy to travel to our part of West London (as west as you can get, but still on the underground!).
Describe a really memorable moment at a Restart Party
A lady came to one of our events with a broken flat screen television. The fixer helped her to diagnose what part needed replacing and found where she could get this replacement part. She followed this through and came back to our next event with the part and immediately spotted the same fixer was there. Within 30 minutes the TV was repaired with the help of the fixer she had seen previously. A happy ending all round.
Share something cool with us [preferably a link]
I still have a Nokia 3410, which works perfectly. It has just had its second replacement battery. I inherited it from my son who had it as a teenager. He is now 31!