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Volunteers Wanted - Council to partner with Repair Cafe to tackle E-waste

12 February 2024

Derry City and Strabane District Council are teaming up with ‘Repair & Share Foyle’ to raise the profile of community reuse and repair of electricals. The team are looking for experienced individuals with a knack for repairing, crafting, and mending to contribute their skills to help keep the electricals we use and love out of landfill.

The repair Café Foyle project – a pop up community event that travels to ‘host’ venues with a team of volunteers, fixing things for free - will be expanded as part of Derry City and Strabane District's broader repair efforts.

The ‘Switch to Repair’ upcoming campaign, funded by Material Focus, will aim to launch in March with a focus on rural Strabane – holding monthly repair cafes, e-waste clinics and tech donation days.

This is one of over 40 UK projects funded by Material Focus, the not for profit leading the Recycle Your Electricals campaign, who have provided £71,000 to support the expansion of the repair project and will lead the way in Derry City and Strabane District, joining other projects around the country in making it easier for 10 million UK residents to recycle their electricals.

The nationwide Electricals Recycling Fund wants to significantly reduce e-waste and its environmental impact by making it easier for consumers to repair and recycle their electricals. The projects that have been funded by Material Focus include a variety of repair and recycling methods, from kerbside collections to more drop-off points in schools, community centres, and bring banks. Overall there will be over 400 new collection points plus kerbside collections for 5.5 million UK residents.

Recycle Your Electricals research has shown that 80% of consumers believe recycling is a good thing, and many of us already recycle things like paper and plastic. Research has also shown that most of us have unwanted electricals we want to get rid of. On average there are at least 30 electricals hidden away in drawers in UK homes, a total of 880 million items across the Uk  - with a simple repair many could be donated or sold to people who could put them to good use. And yet 39% of people bin electricals, rather than recycle or reuse them leading to over 100,000 tonnes of electricals thrown away every year. The aim of these projects is to overcome these issues by making it easier to repair, donate or recycle electricals. 

Council’s Waste Services Manager, Nicola McCool, said: “Our disposable ‘throwaway’ society calls for solutions and the team are seeking passionate individuals with a knack for repairing, crafting, and mending to contribute their skills to help keep the things we use and love out of landfill.

Repair Café Foyle’s Project Coordinator, Caroline McGuinness Brooks said: ‘Electrical and electronic skills to tackle e-waste are especially welcome and a willingness to travel to Strabane once a month on a Saturday morning with possibility for additional volunteer opportunities once a month on a weekday evening. 

If you're more of a dab hand with a sewing machine, woodwork, or a jack of all trades, then the team welcomes  you along too! All we ask for is a minimum of 3 - 6 hours each month and an enthusiasm for repair. 

Whether you are an organisation with space to host the lively bunch, or fancy yourself a bit of a’ fixer maker or mender’ – we’re asking you to help spread the word by sharing our digital assets attached on your socials, your newsletters and on your notice boards. 

We want to double our team to ensure the Strabane community get to experience the joy of community repair. There is a lot of talent out there and we want to bring that talent out of garden sheds and kitchen tables – you don’t have to be an expert to volunteer - just an enthusiasm and curiosity for repair’.

"We are pleased to support Derry and Strabane that addresses the pressing issue of e-waste.” said Scott Butler, Executive Director of Material Focus. "By investing in improved repair, collection and drop-off services and exploring new recycling methods, we are taking a significant step towards creating a more sustainable future by making it easier for 10 million more people to repair, donate and recycle their electricals."

To volunteer, please complete the volunteer registration form: or contact [email protected]

Please tag @Repair Café Foyle / @Repair & Share Foyle’ @dcsdcouncil

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