Could we fix it? Yes, we could!

by Lucy Bywater

On Saturday 19 November, Bedford’s very first pop-up repair shop opened for business. A few months ago I wrote an article in The Clanger about the concept of repair shops and Bedford did not disappoint. Within just a few weeks I heard that a brilliant group of enthusiasts had set a date, found a great central venue (the Higgins) and were organising a diverse team of volunteers with skills in electrics, mechanics, sewing, upholstery and cycle repairs. They were fortunate too to find a local sponsor in the shape of Bedford High Street institution, Goldings.

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I was so pleased to see the idea that has been so successful in locations all over the world come to fruition here. The repair shop concept recognises that many of us today lack the skills, tools or know-how to carry out repairs to stuff that isn’t working but are loathe to just bin things that can perhaps be saved. On the other hand there are of course many fixers out there, including handy retired people (Men in Sheds deserve a mention), who can help sort the job out. They can also, in the process, pass on some of their skills, whether it be darning a favourite jumper, changing a plug on a hairdryer, fixing the wiring on a radio or trying to solve the issue of a laptop that won’t switch on.

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Inevitably not all repairs were possible – some modern manufactured items are unfortunately simply not designed to last or indeed to be repaired – but at least all reasonable options had been exhausted and certainly most items were diverted from landfill as the result of the patience and ingenuity of Bedford’s fixers.

Yesterday’s event certainly saw many satisfied customers (and our house again has a working hairdryer!).  Huge thanks to Goldings, to Katie and Daniel Churchill for organising, Flamme Rouge for helping out and to the Higgins and all the many brilliant fixers who gave up their time. I hope this will be the first of regular repair shops in Bedford.

Fixers: Adam Pettifer, Mark Haines, Steve Minchington, Karen Hall, Anna Drewett, Daniel Churchill, Andrew Hankiewicz and the guys from Men in Sheds, Paul Pibworth, Helen Jones, and Paul from Flamme Rouge.

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