Start a Community Repair Project

Community Action Groups (CAG) Oxfordshire has secured funding to support the set-up of new community repair initiatives. Read on to find out more about the diverse repair initiatives across the country and what support you can receive to set one up in your community.

Community Solutions to the E-waste Problem

In recent years, there has been a huge increase in the consumption of electricals and electronics such as mobile phones, laptops and tablets. As most of these products are not built to last, e-waste is one of the fastest growing waste streams in the world and has severe social and environmental impacts. 

One way to tackle the e-waste problem is to maintain and repair devices so as to increase their lifespan. Community-led repair projects across the world are stepping up to support people to fix – not bin – their stuff.

And it’s not just about reducing waste. Community repair projects keep people connected, combat digital exclusion and help people learn new skills.

Community Repair in Action

Repair Cafés

Repair Cafés are community events where people can learn to fix their broken household items alongside an experienced volunteer.

There are currently 13 community groups who organise Repair Cafés in Oxfordshire, such as SHARE Oxford and Greening Chinnor. Together, they’ve saved over 3 tonnes of electricals and electronics from getting thrown away.

“My sewing, gardening, building skills have improved… I would say the greatest risk to myself at the Repair Cafés is the cake. One slice is never enough.”

– Repair Café volunteer

Digital Inclusion Schemes

Since the start of the pandemic, everyone’s demand on technology has increased. But those who don’t have access to a device or the internet can find themselves socially isolated and unable to work, apply for jobs or pursue education or training.

Community groups have started fixing up and distributing laptops and mobile phones to people who need them, including refugees, asylum seekers and people shielding due to COVID-19.

Such an initiative was set up by Plymouth Borrow Don’t Buy, who also encouraged businesses in one street of to make their Wi-Fi publicly available. Similar initiatives were set up by Solidaritech in Bradford and Sustainable Didcot and Sustainable Wantage in Oxfordshire.

Employability Schemes

Social enterprises like Cracked It are using repair to reduce skills-based barriers to work and provide people with routes to employment.

Cracked It is a smartphone repair service in East London staffed by young people with convictions and those at risk of offending. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Cracked It’s technicians have been refurbishing old mobile phones and donating them to care homes so the elderly can keep in touch with their families through video calls.

Support Available for New Community Repair Projects

If you’re based in Oxfordshire, we can help you to set up a repair project in your community. We can offer:

  • Up to 20 hours of 1:1 support from an experienced repair project organiser 
  • Free electrical and electronic repair training, including:
    • PAT testing
    • Soldering
    • Fixing
    • Fault finding
    • Complex repairs
  • Free health and safety training 
  • Mini-grants
  • Access to a repair toolkit (including tools, spare parts, and a PAT tester) and ‘how to’ resources
  • Support with promoting events and activities

Community groups based in Oxfordshire who become members of the CAG Oxfordshire Network are eligible for additional support. More information here

Get in touch

If you’ve got an idea for a project or you’d like to find out more, we’d love to hear from you! Contact us via repaircafe@cagoxfordshire.org.uk or on 07383 393 737.

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About this project

This work is part of a wider partnership project aiming to boost community-led repair of electricals and electronics across Oxfordshire, involving Oxfordshire County Council, Bicester Green, Orinoco and CAG Oxfordshire. The project is funded by Valpak.

What is CAG Oxfordshire?

Community Action Groups (CAG) Oxfordshire consists of over 80 groups across Oxfordshire at the forefront of community led climate change action. Member groups organise events and run projects to take action on issues including waste, transport, food, energy, biodiversity and social justice. Find out more by visiting our website

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