BitFIXit is a computer repair workshop where members of the local community can bring in their desktop PCs, laptops and other IT equipment for repairs, software optimisation and/or malware removal, or simply to donate computers or equipment that they no longer use. Every Saturday afternoon from 12pm to 3pm, we run a community clinics workshop at Abbeyfield Park House in Sheffield, with one Saturday workshop session taking place at Repair Sheffield’s Repair Cafe at Heeley City Farm every two months beginning in January. We also participate in repair workshops based at Access Space in Sheffield City Centre every Wednesday from 11am to 5pm, and pop-up workshops based in Union Street in Sheffield City Centre every Friday.
The BitFIXit project has been active in helping communities establish and maintain connections with internet communities since 2003. In a modern society where online retail and services such as internet and mobile banking, job boards facilitating applications for job vacancies, and social security claims through Government websites have become highly ubiquitous, people who are unable to access the services they need online find themselves placed at an ever-greater disadvantage in comparison with their peers. BitFIXit’s founder Gareth Coleman explained in a TEDx event held in Pitsmoor in 2015, why our work in contributing to a digitally-inclusive community is more important than ever before;
The community clinics workshop is run by a group of volunteers who enjoy making use of their spare time to repair, configure and maintain various computers. The volunteers who participate in the community clinics sessions range from experienced IT technicians, to enthusiasts who build, maintain, repair and upgrade their own computers as a hobby, and even to non-technicians who are interested in learning more about computer assembly, repairs and diagnostics so that they can apply that knowledge to their own computers at home.
We offer free advice, as well as a range of services including computer hardware repairs, hardware and software diagnostics, malware and junk file removal, and software optimisations, with the aim of making those services accessible to members of the local community who otherwise could not afford those services from conventional computer repair shops. The services are available on a “pay-as-you-feel” basis, where members of the local community can choose to leave a donation after their computers are repaired and/or are happy with the advice we offer. These donations help to enable the community clinics workshop to continue running.
We also offer a callout service, where we visit the premises of individuals and organisations who need our help with a range of software and hardware issues. The visit and diagnosis are free of charge, then there is an hourly charge of £20 for individuals, and £30 for organisations.
The community clinics workshop at Abbeyfield Park House is easily accessible by public transport, with the 1, 1a, 3, 3a, 20, 75, 76, 83, 83a and 88 buses serving stops near Abbeyfield Park on Barnsley Road, and the 97 and 98 buses serving stops on Scott Road, just off Barnsley Road. For volunteers and other individuals from other towns and cities who wish to join us here at BitFIXit, we recommend checking bus and train times on the National Rail and Travel South Yorkshire websites before travelling to ensure that you are able to make the journey to us and back home.