Throwing a spanner in the consumerist Christmas

Just about this time of year, we are bombarded with even MORE messages to consume. The emotional blackmail underlying these messages is shocking. We are made to believe that the only way to show love for our family and friends is to give them newer things.

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Instead of going blue in the face complaining about consumerism, we made a greeting card (with a special Christmas edition!) to help you feel empowered to spread the gift of repair. Fixing is caring.

The card was letter-pressed by hand in Brixton by Rachel Stanners, hard-working owner of the charming Pricklepress, a maker who we met through Makerhood.

Cards will be on sale at our events for £3.50 each (or a higher donation), and we will take online orders soon, so watch this space.

Restart Parties spread

People who love the idea of Restart Parties are helping to spread them from our original communities of Brixton and Camden. We’re quite thrilled to see the results of our September “Start your own Restart Party” workshop. Community repair is catching!

This month in London, two new events inspired by our Restart Parties will happen – one in Hackney (Nov. 16) hosted by Sustainable Hackney and Friends of the Earth Hackney and one in Camberwell (Nov. 24) at House Gallery.

Also this month is the first North American Restart Party, at Hackerspace Tampa, where they have added a great reuse and recycling component. The Restart Party has even made local headlines.

In our Facebook group to support Restart Party Hosts, we now have 37 people from 5 different countries sharing tips, getting our advice, and preparing to host events together. Continue reading

We are the “inner circle” of the circular economy

We were privileged to get a slot at TEDx Brixton in July and we thought we would try to  say something that has been on our minds for a while.

The global conversation for sustainability in manufacturing is shifting to the “circular economy”, like at Davos, where the Ellen MacArthur Foundation has promoted the concept and the opportunities for companies in this field. Up until now, the focus of the circular economy has been primarily on design products for easier disassembling and recycling – the outer circle – which implies creating a closed loop of materials and in the case of electronics, recovering metals in our gadgets.

This is something only feasible at scale, something the big companies can profit from. The mainstream activities of the outer circle of the circular economy – shredding and melting — are very energy intensive, and the jury is out about how efficient they are. But more importantly, this kind of “outer circle” is hard for people to relate to on a human scale.

The “inner circles” of repair and reuse seem to have been fairly mute in these public discussions on the “circular economy”. For us, these are the circles where we can approach a future economy on a human scale: making sure that the products we buy are more repairable, long-lasting by focusing on creating local opportunities flourish for repair, reuse and refurbishing. This is where we can transform our reality.

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September Workshop: Start your own Restart Party!

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You have contacted us from all over the UK and well beyond. Some of you have plenty of repair skills you want to share. Others love the concept and would like to see it happening nearby. We have created a list of initial guidelines to help you run your event, but we know sometimes a friendly get-together can do wonders in supporting a new community activity.

So we’re organising a special one-day event in London on Saturday 14 September to help up to 15 people get started running a Restart Party or community repair event in your town. We’ll have a session on logistics, tools, venues, health & safety – and a Restart Party for you to attend and get stuck in.

If you’d like to get involved, please fill this form as soon as possible – we only have limited availability.

Building a new economy, one repair at a time

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This week the Transition Network‘s Reconomy Project featured us along with 19 other fantastic projects in their newly published report: “The New Economy in 20 Enterprises”.

We were delighted to be selected among such inspiring innovators striving to invent new meaningful local economies: reskilling and creating jobs in our communities, while developing much needed services and products truly respectful of the environment. As the Transition Town movement has been advocating for a long time, achieving real change in our communities also requires creating new livelihoods for people, in food production as well as in transport services, renewable energy and retail.

Where do we fit in this picture? Repair and reuse of small electrical and electronics have been neglected for a long time, replaced by a throw-away culture and often wasteful recycling. In just over a year, with almost no funding and no paid staff members, we have demonstrated that a different approach in not only possible, but it is necessary and a lot of fun too.

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A big thank you

Just a quick post to thank people for all of the messages of support, donations and other morale boosts we have received over recent weeks. Especially since the excellent BBC Tech coverage, which was really important for us! (We’re still having trouble responding personally to all, so please bear with us.)

We’ve received kind messages from all over the world, including requests from over 23 cities in the UK for help replicating our “Restart Parties”.

We now have a volunteer Training Coordinator, which we are super excited about. We’ll introduce him to you soon, when we’ll be announcing a workshop in September open to those who would like to start Restarting their community in the UK.

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In other news, we are also happy to announce that your support has been matched by some important institutional support. We are grateful to Unltd, who chose Janet as a social entrepreneur grantee and will be providing valuable mentoring and support to The Restart Project as well as a £2000 grant. They will help us think through how we build our network and spread our repair revolution sustainably.

Help us scale!

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We need to help mobilise a global network of Restarters, and we need your help to achieve this. We have worked tirelessly alongside our dayjobs and degrees to give life to The Restart Project because we believe it is important and urgent and it simply has to happen.

With your help, we can spread Restart Parties and the spirit of repair across the UK and beyond, and this summer, we need funds to cover our costs while we work on securing sponsorships and grants to gain sustainability.

We need to pay for office supplies, volunteer travel expenses, communication and design costs, travel costs to help jumpstart Restart Parties in cities across the UK.

Please donate to The Restart Project – no amount is too insignificant – we won’t disappoint you!