What do you do with a broken toaster? Or with a bike when the wheel runs out of true? Or with a sweater full of moth holes? Bin it? No way!

Extinction Rebellion Oswestry and Llanfyllin community group BRACE (Building Resilience Against Climate Emergency) are organising monthly repair cafes starting in September.

 The cafes will alternate between the two towns on the first Saturday of the month.

At Repair Cafes volunteer repair experts are available to mend items free of charge. Tools and materials are on hand. People visiting the Repair Café bring along their broken items from home – objects like clothing/ textiles, electrical appliances, bicycles and furniture – to be fixed and learn how to make the repair themselves.

By promoting repairs, BRACE and XR aim to help reduce mountains of waste. This is crucial, according to Jonjo Evans of XR, Oswestry and Borders: “There is so much unnecessary waste. People have got out of the habit of repairing things. Reducing consumption is a way every one of us can contribute to tackling the climate emergency”.

Repair Café is also meant to put neighbours in touch with each other in a new way and to discover that a lot of know-how and practical skills can be found close to home. BRACE’s Rhian Davies said: “If you repair a bike, a CD player or a pair of trousers together with a previously unfamiliar neighbour, you look at that person in a different light the next time you run into them on the street. Jointly making repairs brings people together. It’s also an opportunity to relax over a coffee and home-made cake.”

Hearing about the Repair Café launch, Oswestry worker Michelle Kelsall said: “I think it’s a great idea. People can share skills and save money. There will be less waste going to landfill sites. What’s not to like?”

Repair Café Foundation

The Repair Café concept arose in the Netherlands, in 2009, and was formulated by Martine Postma, at the time an Amsterdam-bases journalist/publicist. In 2010, she started the Repair Café Foundation (see Repaircafe.org). This foundation provides support to local groups around the world wishing to start their own Repair Café. The foundation also supports the Oswestry and Borders Repair Café.

The first Oswestry and Borders Repair Café takes place at the Memorial Hall on Saturday, September 7th, 12-3pm. Llanfyllin’s first café will be on Saturday, October 5th at the Cross Keys, 12-3pm.

Anybody keen to know more or to offer their skills as a volunteer is encouraged to contact Oswestry and Borders Repair Café Facebook page or email repaircafe@moorsbroadband.net .

Pictured: Hannah Majski (left) and Anja Torikka with their tote bag made from material scraps at a trial repair cafe session