Suffolk Repair Shed FAQ’s

About the shed

Is this the same as the Repair Shop on TV?

Not quite. The TV show employs well-paid professionals to repair items which are often of great value. When they are mended the owners sometimes cry with joy. That’s TV.

At the Repair Shed, we have skilled volunteers who mend everyday items to the best of their ability to save real people actual money. That’s real life.

Is this the same as a Repair Cafe?

Sort of, yes. Like a Repair Cafe (or similar) the aim is to repair ordinary items for people. In a Repair Cafe there are of course limits on the types and size of items which can be looked at, and the opening hours are restricted. Also a central idea is that the owner of the item helps with or at least observes the repair, and so learns from it.

At the Repair Shed, the idea is that the owner of the item drops it off for repair, and when the item has been done, it is available for collection.

Is this the same as a Men’s Shed?

Sort of, yes, but with a different emphasis. Men’s Sheds main aim is improving the mental health of members by providing a safe and secure space for men (mostly) to work and socialise together. It often happens that the principal activity is woodwork.

At the Repair Shed the object is to repair items and so prevent them from going to the tip. It turns out that many of these are electrical or electronic items, and so that influences the tools and skills we use, though we are kitted out for metalwork and woodwork as well.

However like Men’s sheds we provide a space for people to work and learn together.

How does this relate to businesses which earn their living from repair work?

It is very important that the Repair Shed does not clash with local repair businesses by trading unfairly. So if a local enterprise exists to do the work you want done, and are interested in doing it, it would not be right for the Repair Shed to take it on. We’ll be working to create a directory of local repair businesses which may be able to help.

If you have items for repair

How can I get my items to and from the shed?

In the first instance items will come in from Repair Cafes or dropped off at the Suffolk Repair Shed. See the contacts page for details. This is possible because sometimes items would take too long to be fixed, or involve a process like welding that couldn’t be done at a Repair Cafe, or need a specialist tool. As the Repair Shed develops, we will get more drop-off and pick-up points. Once the item has been looked at, we’ll get in touch to discuss the repair. There may be parts to buy or other issues.

What will it cost?

The work is done without charge, but we would ask for a voluntary donation to be agreed with you. The question is likely to be “what is it worth to you to have this mended?”. Suffolk Repair Shed is a non-profit organisation and relies on donations to continue to offer the service.

Is there a guarantee?

Generally not. Unlike a professional organisation, the Repair Shed uses volunteers who are skilled, but often not formally qualified. They work to the best of their abilities to repair items, which are tested for operation (and in the case of electrical items for safety via a PAT test). See the full terms and conditions.

Are there some items you won’t take in?

There will be some things we cannot look at from a safety viewpoint, certainly “white goods” – fridges, cookers etc. – are not really within our scope.

In other cases we would not want to take work from local businesses.

What happens if an item can’t be mended?

There will be a number of occasions where an item can’t be mended, for example because

  • we simply don’t have the skills available

  • spares are not available – or make the repair uneconomic

  • the item isn’t made to be mended, often the case I’m afraid.

  • The item has genuinely reached the end of its useful life.

In these cases any donation would be returned along with the item to the owner.

Will I be involved in the repair?

Not directly, but there may be contact between you and the repairer to agree the extent of repair, and whether it makes sense to proceed (for example due to the cost of spare parts). You will be contacted once the repair is effected.

We are very grateful for the generous support of East Suffolk Community Partnerships.

Suffolk Repair Shed Ltd is a non-profit Company Limited by Guarantee. Registered Number 14163703