The story behind fixing stuff in St Albans and Harpenden

On the 9th September 2019 we held an event ‘What can can you fix’ at The Harpenden Arms in Harpenden.  We were delighted to have speakers from the The Repair Shed, and the Restart Project.    Many people at the event asked us to share information about the event and links to the resources discussed, so here is a summary of the event and a link to some resources.  We hope that you find this useful and that you might be inspired to get involved with these two projects.

What can you fix? held on 9th September 2019, at The Harpenden Arms, featured inspiring talks about the The Repair Shed, and the Restart project, with practical ideas about how the St Albans district can reduce waste and consumption at the same time.  Our guest speakers were Doug Root from The Repair Shed and Philip Le Riche representing the Restart project.

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The Repair Shed in Dacorum is part of the Men’s Shed movement, the aim is to help, men aged over 50 to stay healthier and happier for longer by making, mending and learning (though it does have younger members and women members).  Shedders work on their own project and also community project and commissions .. so do contact them if you have a wooden something that needs fixing!

Also if you would like to join the Repair Shed in Redbourn, volunteer with them or have some wood to donate, you can find the contact details here on Facebook.  The Shed also has a Sewing Cafe which (before lockdown) was running sessions on Thursdays from 10.00 am – 12.30 at the Repair Shed in St Luke’s School, Redbourn.  The cost per person per session was £5.00; the money raised will be equally supporting both the school and the Repair Shed – follow the Repair Shed on Facebook to get the latest information. 

The Restart Project aims for a more sustainable relationship with our electrical and electronic devices by encouraging and enabling community-based repair. Our speaker, Philip has taken part as a fixer in many “Restart Parties” in London, and organised one as part of St Luke’s Upcycle and Repair Fair during SustFest19. He described his own involvement and also how Restart is growing a global network of affiliated groups supported by an online community, a repair wiki and a “Fixometer”, which tracks CO2emissions and waste averted. Restart is also increasingly active in lobbying for “right to repair” and design for repairability.

There was also considerable interest in the idea of holding Restart Parties in Harpenden or St Albans and of setting up a Repair Shed (their being large waiting lists to join the local Repair Sheds).  If your organisation would like to host a Restart Party or have a venue that could be a home to new repair shed do get in touch with Philip, Doug or us.

Restart resources: