Transition Town Letchworth: Trade tips and tricks to help you repair broken household items

Transition Town Letchworth are hoping to launch a Letchworth repair cafe - can you help? Picture: Ju

Transition Town Letchworth are hoping to launch a Letchworth repair cafe - can you help? Picture: Julia Sonander - Credit: Archant

As individuals we can help repair the climate by mending and repurposing items rather than sending them to waste. With shops and service industries closed during lockdown, it has never been less easy to replace our ‘stuff.’

However, with more time on our hands we have had the opportunity to make and mend things. Fixing can sometimes prove a challenge, with objects in fact often designed to discourage it – it is amazing how hard it can be to change watch batteries without breaking the watch!

The COVID-19 crisis has, however, highlighted the risks of our linear (take, make, dispose) economy. The PPE crisis in particular, has shown the inherent risk in relying on imported single-use items, as well as the volumes of waste it generates in a single day.

As a nation I hope that lessons have been learned, and going forward we will change to more reusable or circular products.

With the right SEO term, we can find a wealth of information to help us to repair and make things. This winter, the control panel on the Transition Town Letchworth (TTL) thermal camera failed. After watching a Youtube video showing how to change the panel – and sourcing the part from Ebay – the camera was fixed for just £60, far cheaper than the manufacturers quote of £390.

Ifixit.com is a good place to search for repair advice. Its main focus is electronic products with the aim of reducing e-waste, but it has advice for other household products. The website has been used to keep essential home learning computers operating during lockdown.

Often a small repair can extend the life of clothes, too. A simple web search for your item with the word ‘upgrade’ can be inspirational. During lockdown, items previously ignored in my wardrobe have found a new lease of life – a blouse has turned into fashionable ‘paperbag shorts’ and a skirt into a child’s sundress!

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Royston, Hitchin and Cambridge all have ‘Repair Cafes’ which provide a forum for people to share their knowledge and skills, and help others fix items they bring along.

There are also courses in sewing and upholstery available at the Letchworth Settlement. TTL would be interested in hearing from anyone who wants to help start a Repair Café in Letchworth.

To get in touch, email me at ttletchworth@gmail.com.

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