Hackney group hosts electronic-fixing parties to stop residents throwing away devices

Hackney Fixers event. Pic: James Diamond

A group that repairs electronical devices to avoid producing more waste, celebrated their fourth year with a Restart Party at the Dalston CLR James Library, last week.

Hackney Fixers is a joint project by Sustainable Hackney and Hackney and Tower Hamlets Friends of the Earth, that fixes electronic devices and home appliances to stop people throwing their items away.

Their first Restart Party in 2013 was inspired by The Restart Project. The Restart Project is a London-based social enterprise encouraging people to use their electronics longer in order to reduce waste.

Co-organiser of the Hackney Fixers project James Diamond, said: “Repairing things instead of replacing them is something we need to promote and support. We need to fight against the mentality of planned obsolescence.”

He explained the process saying: “We can usually repair about 50 per cent of the faulty items at the events themselves. Some items need other spare parts, and some of them are actually declared dead.” At last week’s event, advice for further repair was given on seven items, and four of them were declared dead.

For items that need further repair, Hackney Fixers handed out a local list of commercial specialists at the event. Diamond explained: “This is important so that people actually know where they can get their items repaired and we can promote local business.” The list of local repairers will be published on their website soon.

The most typical items to be brought along for repair are home and kitchen appliances, and laptops. “At the event of last week, I worked on a toaster, a nose trimmer and a TV set top box,” Diamond said.

Hackney Fixers aims to fix appliances for visitors. Pic: James Diamond

The demographic of visitors at the Hackney Fixers events vary. Some can’t afford to buy new items, while others are curious about learning how to repair things by themselves. Another category are people that don’t want to give up on something or have an emotional bond to an object. “One guy brought along a toaster that he had inherited from his parents. It was 40 years old, but he just had a nostalgic attachment to it.”

Hackney Fixers pioneered “Fixing Fridays” workshops in September for those interested in learning how to repair their electronic equipment and home appliances.

The workshops are held at Dalston CLR James Library and have shown to be very popular so far. They are all already fully booked, with two thirds of the workshop participants being female.

Hackney Fixers work together with Hackney Council, who help them fund their events. The next Restart Party will be at The Redmond Centre, Manor House on 3 February.

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