Volunteers from The Restart Project hosted an electrical workshop on October 14, aimed at teaching Kingston residents how to repair electrical items.
But volunteers said turnout at the event, held at the Richard Mayo Centre on Eden Street, was disappointingly low – only nine items were brought in to be fixed throughout the day.
The Restart Project’s goal is to reduce the amount of electrical goods that end up in landfill. Volunteers are currently running pop-up events across London as part of the Restart the Capital tour, sponsored by the London Waste Authority.
One of the volunteers was former Kingston University student Sami Flew, 48, who studied electronics and now enjoys passing on his knowledge to others. He said the project aimed to “take away the mystique of taking something apart”.
“I had a little kid at one of the events who didn’t know how to use a screwdriver. He was about 10. I couldn’t understand why he didn’t know, because I just knew. My dad taught me. I don’t know if I knew at 10 how to use one but I certainly was fixing bikes when I was at school,” he said.
Restart volunteer Mike Grahn, 62, said the project is not just about fixing the items but also about teaching vital repair skills.
He said: “The idea is to involve people. It’s not to fix things for people, it’s to show people that they can do it themselves, so we take longer and get people involved in fixing it.
“Generally I like to get people hands-on and doing it themselves so that next time it breaks they’ll know what to do. It’s the old story of teaching people to fish.”
Grahn said the most common items brought to the pop-up workshops include laptops, irons, kettles and table lamps.
Attendee Stuart Russell, 68, had previously worked with Grahn at an event near Borough Station, and travelled to Kingston from Sutton to get further help with his broken HP printer power supply.
He said: “I can’t test components, I don’t know how to do it, and I’m hoping that one of these guys here has got the expert knowledge to say ‘right it’s this thing here that we need to change’ and then I can come back and get it replaced.”
Russell also said he was surprised more people hadn’t attended the event. “A lot of people might not realise that it’s available today,” he said.
The next Restart event will take place in Chingford on November 4 at 11am.