Introducing Reyt Repair - a social enterprise where volunteers fix clothing, electricals and furniture in Sheffield, UK

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 - 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!


Fantastic, thank you. we need one in Edinburgh!! I just chucked out a perfectly good electric oven because I did not know how to repair it, and every repair person I called , came to sell me a new one, and charge for their visit without even telling me what the part that needed changing, I am DETERMINED to learn how to do small domestic repairs, including plumbing leaks. I ll PAY someone to teach me the basics, I should be able to find others., how do we go about. cheers

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I’m not sure how long it’s been going but we definitely have a similar, quite well established volunteer-driven shop in Stonehouse… I think there is one in Abingdon…, too.
It still doesn’t devalue you effort in getting your going. Well done!

Hiya Robert

Thanks for the information, yes it seems like the Stonehouse project is the first volunteer powered repair shop, has been going since 2018 apparently - I will have to stop claiming that now, darn!!

I couldn’t find the Abingdon project with a quick search - do you know any more details?



Hiya Paula

How to learn to repair things is a question that’s got a good thread on the discussion board elsewhere, my take on it is that it isn’t easy! There aren’t really recognised courses partly because there isn’t much employment for people doing small repairs. I find youtube great for learning skills and tricks around repair. Other than that, working alongside others, putting your learning to the test and sharing skills is the royal road to improving your repairs. Is the Edinburgh re-makery accessible to you? Or the Edinburgh repair cafes?

Thank you Gareth
well, first of all, the house is in Edinburgh - where the repairs are needed
but I am not (not alway, not often, depending on the case)
I do repair things wherever I am, but I may not have the tools /equipment/time
so I would rather pay someone to either teach me, or do it! For example, one of the burners on the electrical cooker stopped working. according to my diagnosis, it can be one of two faults, which can be resolved byr changing either part, or both, the total cost for the new parts, worst case scenario, is 60 gbp. one hour labour (qualified electrician) is x (say 30 gbp) but I could not find anyone to do it.

very long story., I manaed to get a refurbished new cooker for 125 but I dont like the idea that the old one was going to be scrapped, I still think there is life in things they should be repaired, qualified electricians are busy doing bigger jobs, or are controlled by those who hire them. I see an opportunity for someone,. definitely, an opportunity for me to offer a small repair service if and when I learn the skill,. cold be done part time by engineering students as well. when I can I definitely use youtube video
I dont think the shops you mentioned in Edinburgh offer a repair service but support to people who want to do self repairs, thats my guess
Portable appliances are inexpensive to buy new (I would not bother fixing a toaster for example) thanks for your email

Someone in our Repair Café referred me to the but I must have got confused - they have a food-type Café run by volunteers, not a Repair Café!

What a fabulous idea. Cambridgeshire has a lot of repair cafes but I sense that we’re still barely scraping the demand for repair. A daily service like this should be able to make a much bigger dent.

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