A huge thanks to everyone who joined this call!
If you missed it, no worries, here’s a summary of what we discussed:
Who was in the room?
What did we talk about?
We started by discussing some of the community repair challenges we encountered in 2019 and then moved on to talk about how we could try to address these in 2020 (along with our other plans).
One of the challenges many of us reported facing is balancing facilitation and recording repair data. At a busy event it can be hard to make sure that repairs are logged in detail while managing everything else. Steve shared that in Market Harborough, they use a paper slip that follows each item through the event. They’ve tried asking participants to record some of the repair journey on this slip, but that it’s tricky not to make the form too long as it’s also used to ask questions about the participant themselves (e.g. “how did you find out about this event?”)
Rosemary shared that in Ickenham, they’ve worked to establish a variety of hosting roles, such as welcomers to greet new arrivals and someone focused on data collection (both information about visitors and repair data). This seems to work well and is also something Steve has tried.
We also talked about the importance of better-communicating why we collect repair data as a way of introducing broader concepts around the Right to Repair and the environmental benefits of repairing things. We agreed that this could be a useful way of getting buy-in from participants.
Looking after ourselves and our volunteers (avoiding fatigue and burnout)
A number of us reported wanting to do more at events and run more events, but being concerned about putting too much pressure on everyone involved (particularly organisers, hosts and repairers). Marie shared that in Leicestershire, she and Divya have been organising most of the network’s activity over the last 5 years, which has been very tiring. Others also shared similar worries about asking too much of already committed volunteers.
We discussed ways to build capacity sustainably both for individual groups and networks of groups. Ideas shared included:
recruiting enough volunteers to avoid over-relying on a small number of people
training regular volunteers up to take on new roles and responsibilities
sharing knowledge and best practice between local groups
- funding for volunteer expenses to reduce barriers to participation and allow expansion to new areas
funding organiser roles (not just project-based funding) to allow key organisers to dedicate more time to growing the group and network
Finding enough people to volunteer—especially repairers—came up as an issue for a number of people.
Elias spoke about the difficulty of asking people in Benin to volunteer, saying that people tend to expect to be paid. As such, LES 100TINEL Fix Club is having to work hard to make the case for volunteering.
Steve talked about successfully finding volunteers in a variety of places including via Facebook, local media (e.g. radio), churches and other local networks and through adopting an inclusive approach.
Word of mouth is another important driver and can help bring together local communities, as Rosemary said has happened for her group.
Plans for 2020
Looking ahead, lots of us shared exciting plans for next year and ideas for addressing some of the challenges discussed.
Elias has lots of ambitious plans for 2020, including planning Fixfest Benin , running a repair workshop in an inclusive education centre, a volunteer-recognition event as well as increasing the overall volunteer base.
Tom from Maakbar Leuven will be organising more training sessions for repairers (both new and experienced) and hopes to then design ‘train the trainer’ sessions to deliver these more widely.
Marie is going to oversee the transformation of Leicester Fixers to become Leicestershire Fixers to better reflect the broad network of repair groups they’ve helped establish over the last few years. At the same time, there will be a renewed focus on the city of Leicester.
Steve is planning to set up Market Harborough Fixers in a new Eco village and is keen to introduce elements showcasing how local repair events fit into a broader story (such as the Right to Repair campaign ).
Rosemary would like to work more closely with the London network to better-coordinate event schedules and make it easier for volunteers to move between groups/events. Cc: @Vanessa_Ternes
Key 2020 dates
For anyone else looking at 2020 planning, here are some key dates to look out for:
The Big Fix - Britian’s biggest repair café: dozens of repair groups across the UK will be hosting an event on the 15th of February 2020 to celebrate and showcase repair.
Fixfest UK 2020 - stay tuned for details of the second gathering for the UK repair community, likely to be held in the middle of 2020. More information soon.
International Repair Day - Repair day will be back on the 17th of October 2020. Be sure to plan an event for that day and join the global celebration of repair!