Many of the items that we have in our homes and workplaces can be repaired when they break, but all too often these repairs are seen as too difficult, expensive or time consuming. If we are to help reduce the impact of our comsumer society, we need to come together to foster a return to the repair culture that was once prevalent. Transition Loughborough aims to help do that by running “Repair Café” events.
The idea behind a Repair Café is that volunteers who are skilled at fixing various items give a few hours of their time to help people with broken items that would otherwise be thrown away. People bringing these items to the event have to sit with the repairer to explain what the problem is, see how the repairer goes about investigating it and learn how (if!) the fix can be made. That way they not only hopefully get their item repaired, but learn how to make these repairs themselves. This is part of the reskilling that we aim for in Transition Loughborough so that the community becomes more resilient and self reliant.
The repairs made by the volunteers are on a best effort basis and are free. We can’t repair everything of course: some products are designed to be disposable and unrepairable on purpose and others may be dangerous if repaired. The repairers can point these out to the people bringing the items, and maybe also point out alternative replacements that are safer and/or repairable.
We also get items brought along that may be able to be repaired but are beyond the skills of the volunteers and/or the time they have available at the Repair Café. In these cases we provide lists of local commercial repair shops that people can take items to. This is important as we don’t want our free repairs to stifle these shops – we want to get people into a “repair before replace” mindset so that they will look to using such services before throwing something away and buying something new.
The “café” part of the Repair Café comes from the social aspect where people can chat over a cuppa and some biscuits whilst waiting for a repairer to become available. Refreshment sales also help offset some of the costs of hiring the room and event insurance that we incur to run the Repair Cafés.
Our Repair Cafés are open to all and we’ve repaired a wide range of items over the last few years. Everything from table lamps to coffee machines, lawn mowers to bikes, holey pullovers to lawn mowers! So if you have a skill in repairing something that you’d be happy
to share with others for a few hours every couple of months, please get in touch to be added to our list of repairers.