Radios, bikes and ice cream makers - Sheffielders save a fortune at 'Repair Shop' events

Sheffielders have been easing the cost of living crisis at free repair shops popping up around the city.
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Inspired by popular BBC TV show Repair Shop, volunteer-run events have sprung up in areas such as Hillsborough and Highfield to inject new life into broken possessions.

From patching up old clothing to radio, bike and even ice cream maker repairs, the projects are saving Sheffielders hundreds of pounds while reducing waste.

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Ian Moor is a retired electrical engineer and volunteers at Share & Repair in Hillsborough Park run by arts organisation RivelinCo. He said: “I don’t like the idea of this modern throwaway society. I think if we can fix items that’s much better than them going to landfill.”

Kath Raistrick - Pic Tom HockingKath Raistrick - Pic Tom Hocking
Kath Raistrick - Pic Tom Hocking

Fellow volunteer Kath Raistrick is a former infant teacher who enjoys using her sewing skills to make and repair things. She said: “I enjoy making a difference. It’s a small difference, but if it’s a help to some people who maybe haven’t got those skills then that’s great.”

Retired teacher Pat Davies, aged 82, from Hillsborough, had her CD player fixed after seeing a flyer for RivelinCo’s Share & Repair event. She said: “Like most people, I was just going to spend £50 on a new one but that felt like a waste – it’s a lot to spend in a cost of living crisis, and a shame to just put something in the bin when it might be an easy fix.”

Across the city, Harland Works is a hub for independent businesses and many help out at the regular Repair Cafe. Eyeye opticians fix wonky glasses, while other volunteers tackle electrical items, bicycles and clothes.

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Alison Reid from Millhouses brought her beloved Gaggia Gelatiera ice cream maker to the event in March. It cost £300 in 2000 but hadn’t worked for eight years - until a volunteer spent 90 minutes on it.

Melvyn Dalley - credit Tom HockingMelvyn Dalley - credit Tom Hocking
Melvyn Dalley - credit Tom Hocking

“I used to use it all the time but I never had the heart to throw it away because a replacement could’ve cost over double that these days,” she said. I’d asked all the local electrical shops and even gone to Gaggia themselves but no one seemed interested in fixing it. I noticed this event and thought it was worth a go.”

RivelinCo’s and Harland Works’ repair days are proving so popular they have been inundated with requests from people in other areas of Sheffield to help set up their own projects.

RivelinCo programme manager Emily Thew said: “It’s been amazing to watch our Share & Repair grow, to give life to old appliances and pieces of clothing while also reducing the amount of waste going to landfill. We’re a city of makers and menders, so I’m not surprised that so many people want to start their own events in their local communities and save people money.”

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Sophy Hallam, manager of Harland Works, agrees. “We went through the Repair Cafe scheme, which is an international movement, and there’s a huge amount of information out there if you know where to look.”

Alison Reid from Millhouses brought her beloved Gaggia Gelatiera ice cream maker to an event in March. It cost £300 in 2000 but hadn’t worked for eight years - until a volunteer spent 90 minutes on it.Alison Reid from Millhouses brought her beloved Gaggia Gelatiera ice cream maker to an event in March. It cost £300 in 2000 but hadn’t worked for eight years - until a volunteer spent 90 minutes on it.
Alison Reid from Millhouses brought her beloved Gaggia Gelatiera ice cream maker to an event in March. It cost £300 in 2000 but hadn’t worked for eight years - until a volunteer spent 90 minutes on it.

RivelinCo’s next Share & Repair event in Hillsborough Park will take place on Saturday June 18 as part of their Midsummer Festival, and then August 12 alongside their Summer Makers’ Market. For details of Harland Works’ next Repair Cafe check harlandworks.co.uk.