As an organiser of the Reading Repair Cafe I am regularly asked how to start a Restart Party / Repair Cafe. So to I dont keep repeating myself here is an outline of the advice.
The key steps I think you should do in order to get a successful event happening are:
- Visit some events, bring something that needs repair, and talk to people, see how their event is run, copy the good bits.
- Set up your organisation, or find a charitable organisation to be a part of. The key thing you need here is Public Liability insurance, and finance (bank account etc). In Reading we formed under an existing organisation Transition Town Reading.
- Find your repairers. You need to gather together a group of people that are happy to volunteer and have the range of skills that that will help people. Local Hackspace is a good start for electronics skills. Linux user group for computer people, Community cycling groups for bicycle repair, etc. Build a list of contacts, keep then updated with regular emails.
- Find a venue. You need somewhere that wont object to soldering irons, computers etc being brought in. Has power and Wi-Fi available, and you can afford. Community halls, church halls are good places to start, but most of these need to charge to cover their costs.
We have tried roaming between different locations, and being based in the same location. Having a fixed location and regular schedule of events is best. You become known and can advertise your events more easily.
- Set up and advertise your events. facebook, twitter, website…
Start small, and build. Don’t be disappointed if you don’t have many visitors to your first few events, don’t become too confident if you have too many visitors as well.
- Track your visitors and repairs. Keep a log of all repairs, we use the restart project tool for this. You will need this later to show what you have done, to apply for grants and other money.
- Participate in the Repair community, Fixfest, network with other groups.
Restart party wiki has lots of useful guides on how to repair different devices.
iFixit is a company and a website focused on Repair. They sell great tools, and they also have fixit guides for many types of devices. Phones and computers mainly.
The Restart party has guidance on hosting your own event
The Repair Cafe site also has some good guides on how to start an event.