Since launching in September, Oswestry and Borders Repair Café volunteers have mended more than 200 treasured possessions.
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 belongings to be fixed. They sit with the repair experts to learn how to make the repair themselves. Tea, home-made cakes and newspapers are available while they wait. Any donations fund future cafes.
Typically, between 12 and 20 ‘fixperts’ volunteer their time each month at the Oswestry and Borders Repair Café. Their repair skills cover electrical, wooden and mechanical objects, electronics, computer hardware and software, wooden furniture, glassware, jewellery and bicycles. Clothing repairers mend woollens, zips, hems and seams by machine and by hand, as well as making alterations. General volunteers bake cakes, serve teas, set up, run and organise the sessions.
People support the café for many reasons: some see it as a local response to the climate and environment emergency, others love fixing things and helping people, and for some it’s a return to a past they remember with fondness.
In the first six months, people brought 350 objects for repair. Of these, 217 were repaired on the spot and 44 were taken home for new parts after ‘fixperts’ taught the owners how to make the fix themselves. Sixty-one items were beyond repair.
The Repair Café is a collaboration between Extinction Rebellion Oswestry and the Llanfyllin environmental group BRACE. Organisers are keen to help others start new cafes. Repair Cafe member Alison Alexander said: “These are lovely community events. The atmosphere really buzzes. Repair Cafes save things from landfill, save the planet’s resources and save people money. If anybody would like to start a new café in their area, we’re very happy to share what we’ve learned over the past six months”.
Oswestry and Borders Repair Café alternates between Llanfylllin and Oswestry on the first Saturday of the month from 12-3pm. It returns to Oswestry this month on March 7. To volunteer in any capacity or for queries, the group can be contacted via Facebook or by email email@example.com.