Illustration by Jessica Balla | ballawaves.com
When things break it’s often easier and cheaper to throw them away rather than get them repaired. But this means that things are being needlessly thrown away that could be given a new lease of life if we had the skills and the opportunity to repair them.
There was a time when make do and mend culture was thriving, but our consumer-focused lifestyles have made us lazy or less imaginative when it comes to fixing broken things, or there are financial and practical obstacles in the way. But there’s a new trend re-igniting our imaginations when it comes to fixing, and communities are coming together in the process to share repair skills and enable us to give new life to old objects.
Initiatives like the ‘Restart Project’ hold events that connect geeky technicians with broken electronics with happy results for their owners. At the same time this helps to build a sense of community around fixing. ‘Repair Cafe’ is a worldwide network supporting people to hold events to teach people to fix all kinds of things from clothes, to toys, to electronics and much more.
We’ve already seen some events inspired by this movement in Frome, with Edventure enterprise ‘SHARE – a library things’ running successful Repair Cafes. “It is great to see so many people taking the time to fix the things they love, instead of throwing them away,” said SHARE co-project manager Helen Johnstone. “Lots of our visitors got stuck in with the fixing too, and several left saying they’d learnt a few things they’d try at home.”
Sweden has set a bold ambition to reduce waste by providing tax breaks when things are fixed. The aim is to lower the cost of repairing goods and incentivise fixing. This will encourage the creation of a new repairs industry, providing jobs and cutting greenhouse gas emissions. “I believe there is a shift in view in Sweden at the moment. There is an increased knowledge that we need to make our things last longer in order to reduce materials’ consumption” said Per Bolund, Sweden’s minister for financial markets and consumer affairs. (Source: The Guardian)
Edventure:Frome is an organisation joining the dots between education, community and enterprise to set up projects that tackle a local need and support young adults to have a go at turning ideas into reality. The Edventure Start-Up supports 10 people aged 18-35 to set up a community enterprise over 10 weeks. So far, past student teams have set up SHARE: a library of things, The Welsh Mill Hub, the community fridge, the Roundhouse Garden by the river, and Edspace: providing affordable living solutions, amongst others.
This coming March, working with SHARE, Edventure students will be given the challenge to set up a community start-up that encourages people to fix their things – from clothes to electronics to bikes and board games.
There are various ways to get involved: If you’re aged 18-35 and want to take part in the course, get more information here; if you’re a fixer and would like to get involved email us at [email protected] and if you’re curious about the project and want to be part of it in other ways, get in touch or attend our upcoming event Edventure:SOUP at 7pm on 18th January at The Welshmill Hub, Frome, BA11 2LE.