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Bright Sparks

Bright Sparks have relocated to a fantastic new shop at 176 Seven Sisters Road, N7 7PX. Not only can you still bring your electrical items for donations or repair, you can now buy furniture, bric a brac and household items as well as electricals. 

All prices are very reasonable and there are some real bargains e.g. wardrobes from £30, kettles from £3.

The furniture is supplied by the housing department who clear empty properties (by arrangement with their previous occupiers). Bright Sparks then repair and sell the items. This diverts the items from the rubbish tip and saves the council money as well as providing great items to residents for reuse.

Bright Sparks shop details:

176 Seven Sisters Road, N7 7PX

Opening Hours: 11am-5.30pm Monday to Saturday

Telephone: 020 7272 9156

Email: shop@brightsparksonline.com

Donate electricals (We do not accept furniture)

There are a number of places around the borough where residents can donate small electrical items to help support the project. Visit the collection points page for a full list.

The repairs are carried out at a workshop that has created training and volunteering opportunities for the unemployed, helping the local economy. Read the volunteers' stories at the bottom of the page to find out more.

If you are interested in improving your skills and gaining work experience then volunteer at Bright Sparks by contacting azra@digibridge.co.uk 020 7272 9156 to register your interest.

Repair service

If you want something repaired take it to Bright Sparks. Their engineers will check it and let you know within three days whether they can repair your item and the price of the repair. The repair itself may take longer.

Items accepted by the repairs service

Kitchen electricals

  • kettle
  • sandwich makers
  • coffee makers
  • juicers
  • food mixers
  • steamers
  • electric fans
  • bread machine

Household electricals

  • electric sewing machines
  • fan heaters
  • electric radiators
  • hair dryers
  • vacuum cleaners
  • trouser presses
  • clocks
  • irons
  • lamps / lights

Sound, vision and computing 

The following list of appliances are not included as part of the repair service, but do not let that put you off donating it to Bright Sparks. We will make sure the components are recycled rather than put in the waste bin.

  • televisions
  • computers
  • computer monitors
  • laptops
  • PC printers
  • mobile phone
  • telecommunications equipment
  • hi-fi, integrated and separate amplifier, CD player, radio, speakers.
  • DVD, games consoles, digiboxes
  • electrical musical instruments

Kitchen electricals

  • microwave
  • toaster
  • cooker

Household electricals

  • fires
  • foot massager
  • hair curlers
  • hair straighteners

Sound, vision and computing

  • video camera
  • scanners
  • shredder
  • flat screen display
  • PC accessories (keyboard, mouse)
  • word processor/ electric typewriters
  • cassette decks
  •  video recorders

Garden/ DIY

  • garden tools, electrical (small) i.e. strimmer, hedge cutter, garden vac
  • plug-in power tools i.e. drill, electric screwdriver

Appliances that Bright Sparks does not collect or accept:

  • electric hob
  • freezers
  • fridges
  • fridge-freezers
  • photocopier
  • sun beds
  • electric armchairs
  • electric beds
  • electric wheelchairs
  • garden tools, electrical (large) i.e. lawnmower, shredder

Volunteers' stories

HN - workshop volunteer

HN is 35, and graduated with 1st class Honours as an Electronics Engineer from Kings College in 2009 but found that there were very few graduate positions in this field in London. He has always had a love of electronics and felt that if he could not get a job doing what he loved he would try and contribute his time doing volunteer work, preferably in the field of electronic engineering. He was referred to Bright Sparks by Forest Recycling Project, who he contacted originally. In his experience, Bright Sparks is unique in offering volunteering places and training in this area of work. 

He started volunteering in January of 2011 and has spent the majority of his time building and repairing computers, something he sees as very valuable hands-on experience which he can you when applying for jobs. It has also given him more confidence in what he is doing as there is a wide range of electronic items that need to be repaired. He is currently still volunteering at the project and will continue to do so until he finds paid work as it is an enjoyable experience.

JB - Workshop Volunteer

How long have you been at Bright Sparks?  For the past month, I come to the workshop 2 days a week.

How did you find out about it? I found out about Bright Sparks through a friend of mine who lives nearby. I went in to the shop to speak to Diye, the Director and completed an application form

Why did you want to work here? I wanted to get additional work experience. Plus when I got here the atmosphere was really relaxed and friendly, so I’m always happy coming here

What do you do here? My background is in music and sound engineering, so I mainly focus on repairing the Hi-Fi’s sound equipment and any instruments that come in. I also do a bit of work on the IT equipment.

What skills have you learned? I’ve learned how to be much more flexible in my approach to work. I have managed to widen my knowledge of electrical repairs in the past month alone, and this will help me in my future work as a sound engineer.

Have you received any training whilst volunteering here? Yes, I’ve recently received my PAT testing qualification which is going to be really useful.

What will you do after you finish at Bright Sparks? I plan to set up my own recording studio and electronics workshop, so the experience I have gained here will be invaluable to my future plans.

What are the best things about working at Bright Sparks?
1. Interesting place to learn
2. Anyone can come along here, there are all sorts of people working here which makes it a great place to come to.
3. Learning about what can be done with items which people think are ready to be thrown away. It’s amazing what you can do!

What would you say to anyone wanting to volunteer at Bright Sparks? Come along and try it out! 

D - workshop volunteer

How long have you been at Bright Sparks?  I’ve been coming here 2 days a week since 2011

How did you find out about it? I found out about Bright Sparks through Remploy, an organisation that helps people with disabilities to find work.

Why did you want to work here? When I heard about it, I liked the idea of getting experience in a warehouse environment, and get real hands on work experience. So I thought I would try it out and I applied to volunteer here.

What do you do here? Every day is different. Sometimes I’m logging in the new items that come through the warehouse into the database, or I’m working in the cleaning bay cleaning the appliances, or sometimes I’m function testing the appliances to make sure that they are in full working order and not damaged. Also, I help load up the van for deliveries to the shop.

What skills have you learned? I’ve learnt loads of stuff! I’ve learnt how to rewire plugs and basic electrical appliances, PAT test to make sure that things are safe and enter data into the computers.

Have you received any training whilst volunteering here? Just my PAT testing certificate, but the thing is here is that you are learning every day, so it’s not like you have to go on proper training to learn something new, you are learning new stuff while you work every day.

What are you planning to do next? I’d like to carry on working in electronics, I think that the skills I am gaining here will help me to get a job in the future.

What are the 3 best things about working at Bright Sparks?
1. The experience; I like coming here and learning new things.
2. Everyone here is really friendly and polite so coming here is really fun
3. O’Neil: He is really funny but also really wise and down to earth
4. I have a 4th! Meeting the other volunteers and staff and making new friends that I look forward to seeing when I come in each day.

What would you say to anyone wanting to volunteer at Bright Sparks? Come down and see what it’s like for yourself! It’s great not just for the work experience, but also to know that you are volunteering somewhere that is helping the community too, that’s what is important to me.

C - Workshop staff

How long have you been at Bright Sparks?  I first came here in April 2011 for 6 months and I’ve come back again to work full time 3 months ago

How did you find out about it? I first came here through the Future Jobs Fund. My placement was for 6 months, then I went away and gained some additional qualifications before getting invited to come back as full time staff.

Why did you want to work here? Initially, I just wanted to get some work experience in a warehouse, but after meeting the team and learning about the work that Bright Sparks does, I was really happy to be working for a project that does such positive work. Also, I used to not like being told what to do, but working with Diye and O’Neil is different, they are cool to work for and I enjoy it here.

What do you do here? When I first came here I was helping to clean the appliances, doing a lot of data entry and PAT testing. Since coming back as full time staff my role is more supervisory. I help to manage the volunteers and make sure they all have things to be doing , that they are happy and the work they are doing is going to benefit them in terms of gaining skills they want and need.

What skills have you learned? I’ve developed my IT skills through training and I’ve also learned to be more organised. Now I have a good phone manner, time keeping skills, warehouse skills, people management skills...too many to mention! By coming here every day I’ve grown up a lot and learnt that there isn’t just one way of doing things. I was just messing around before coming here, I’m really glad that I took the opportunity to get out of that and get into work.

Have you received any training whilst volunteering here? I’ve completed some Microsoft Excel IT accreditations and my PAT testing certificate.

What are you planning to do next? I’m planning to either go up in the ranks at Bright Sparks or carry on developing my skills here. I enjoy working here so I’m not looking to go anywhere else.  

What are the best things about working at Bright Sparks?
1. There’s a good vibe here, O’Neil is great to work with, he makes sure all the staff have a good time.
2. There’s a good variety of work here, so every day is different.
3. The opportunities that are available to you. If you work hard and show yourself to be a good member of staff, Diye and the other staff here will do all they can to help and support you in terms of personal development and training.

What would you say to anyone wanting to volunteer at Bright Sparks? Come along and give it a go, just don’t make a mess when O’Neil is about!

 

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