The Big Fix brought to you by the Repair, Make & Mend Collective

The Big Fix brought to you by the Repair, Make & Mend Collective

A vintage doll, a Goblin Teasmade and a couple of cine cameras were just some of the weird and wonderful repairs made at The Big Fix on Saturday the 15th of February. More than thirty broken, chipped and damaged items including toys, household goods and garments were carried into the Plymouth Scrapstore on Union Street by owners seeking repair and restoration. Jane from the Scrapstore says the event was a huge success and far busier than they had anticipated;

“It was totally amazing the level of excitement we had; there must have been about fifty people coming along with their broken bits and pieces, and then there were television crews from the BBC and ITV and someone from Asda brought us biscuits and coffee. The whole place was buzzing for hours!”

This was the first repair event held after a successful bid to POP+’s Learning and Collaboration Fund. Plymouth Scrapstore, Borrow Don’t Buy (Library of Things), Timebank and Makers HQ have knitted themselves together to encourage – and enable – people to repair more things and, in doing so, help Plymouth reduce its carbon footprint.

Sewing machines, irons and trousers were among the treasures restored at The Big Fix saving people approximately £300 in money; 5.6kg in waste-to-landfill and about 50.3kg of Carbon Dioxide emissions. But what everyone at the Big Fix experienced – and felt – is that, as well as the economic and environmental savings, community events like this offer social restoration as well. They bring people together to a place of interest, enable conversations between strangers and give people something to feel positive about (and then there was the home-made cake!): one man who brought along a mobile phone to be repaired, found himself helping out and mending someone else’s much-wanted tatty old doll.

So, it is for all these reasons that the collaboration between the four groups is working to enable more repair cafes like this across the city. With the money from POP+’s Learning and Collaboration Fund they hope to be able to host one every other month but as Jane from the Scrapstore says, that’s just the start of it;

“We’re working on a Repair, Make and Mend kit along with training sessions and a website to enable other people to run events themselves at places across the city. And we’re starting to think about specialised fix-its for just one thing, which could be for sewing machines; clothes or toys.”

The next repair café is expected to be held in April with others following every other month. Anyone interested in getting involved or hosting their own event should email: hello@borrowdontbuy.co.uk

The third and final round of POP+’s Learning and Collaboration fund opens on May 1st, 2020. For more information visit https://www.plymouthoctopus.org/learning-collaboration-fund/