Reyt Repair is the UK’s first volunteer powered repair shop - we’re based in Sheffield and we recently celebrated our first month of operation. We are open Tuesday to Saturday 10-4 to fix electricals, furniture and clothes. So far we’ve taken in over 70 items, built up our volunteer teams of 12 repairers and we’ve had quite a few successes, some failures and lots of learning. We charge £10 for a simple repair (less than 30min) and if it takes longer, £20/h.
After many years of repairing computers both as a volunteer and professionally, I began to volunteer with the Sheffield Repair Cafes and meet fellow repairers. A visit to the Todmorden Makery in the summer gave me the idea of a project where volunteers would get together everyday to repair things, saving money and reducing our impact on the environment. I was fortunate to meet with Sophie Unwin at the Remade in Govanhill (Glascow) project, and she helped me think through how the project would work and could be sustainable. I also benefited from valuable advice from Phoebe at Repair Cafe Wales and Shelini at the Restart Project.
Back in Pitsmoor, Sheffield I put the word out on social media, talked to friends and messaged everyone I could think of and people started ‘coming out of the woodwork’ to join the project. We voted on the name, discussed the price and operating model, what to repair and how to advertise. A small but comfortable room in a community hub was found, cleaned, tidied and set up as our workshop; and a local artist hosted a workshop for volunteers to design our sign.
As well as the usual suspects of vacuum cleaners, sandwich toasters and ripped jeans we’ve had some interesting items that could be candidates for a TV show - like the chair from a 1920’s Paris cinema to the Tiffany lamp to the war papers from 1890. We’ve been defeated by hand blenders that seem welded together and by parts for sewing machine pedals that are unobtainium. Plus of course we have already had a few ‘no fault found’ - sometimes the threat of repair makes a misbehaving item start working again!
We have been given or loaned most of our tools and equipment, including some very special scissors - proudly made in Sheffield. We’re all volunteers right now, but if we can keep growing at this rate in a few months we’ll be able to afford a coordinator salary. And we are just getting started; in the next month or three we’ll be holding workshops in repair and craft skills, accepting donations of things for repair and sale and operating a tool-bank in partnership with a local charity, Green City Action.
If you’d like to find out more or support our project check out our website at reyt.repair - and of course if you are in Sheffield then drop in and say hello!
If anyone has any questions, suggestions etc. then please feel free to say! Thanks!