The idea of a repair cafe for Tattenhall came from our first Engagement Day back in October. For those for whom the idea of a repair cafe is a new thing – a repair cafe is a place where the public can bring broken household appliances, clothes, textiles, or blunt tools to be fixed on the day. The idea is that otherwise these would go to landfill and replacements purchased. Repair Cafes have the main objectives of reducing landfill, reducing consumption, but also they are good places to meet others with a similar idea. It is important to us that the equipment is generally low value and would not justify a professional repair, that it would otherwise be thrown away.
So we formed a small group of Transition Tattenhall members to make it happen.
The main requirement is skilled and willing volunteers to do the fixing. We were confident that in a place like Tattenhall there would be plenty of people willing to give up a Sunday morning to try to fix broken stuff, and we were right, we have a great team of volunteers who will try most things.
We realised we needed some money to cover room hire, we wanted at least 12 months, insurance, consumables and PAT test equipment for electrical items. So we set about raising money. Tattenhall Parish Council generously have pledged £500. And we set out crowdfunding with CWAC via the SpaceHive scheme. The crowdfunding scheme requires projects to demonstrate local support by getting pledges of funding from people of Tattenhall, CWAC would then add money from their various funding budgets. We started in April and within just 5 weeks we had 40 pledges of support from people in Tattenhall of nearly £1000 in total. That was tremendous. This support enabled us to be supported by CWAC and we had enough funds for the project to run for a year. We were off!
The first repair cafe, there will be one a month, took place last Sunday (31 July). There was a brief publicity campaign through Facebook to remind people of the repair cafe and ask them to bring their broken appliances etc. We collected our volunteer repairers, 4 for the first cafe, and we opened the doors at 10 in the morning.
From the start we were busy, there was a steady stream of people coming with equipment, clothing, blunt knives, broken table, tools, all sorts. Our receptionist was kept busy booking in clients, directing them to a suitable volunteer, and organising PAT testing. Our cafe was busy serving teas, coffees, biscuits for people while they waited to be seen, or equipment to be fixed.
In the two hours we took in 16 items, we fixed 6 in the morning, made recommendations for replacement parts/batteries for 3 items, we have 3 items still with volunteers having longer term work done and we failed with 4. Saving we think 12 items from landfill, and replacement. There was also a much conversation and interest in the room about the repairs, and about Transition.
The repair cafe is a monthly event. The next one is 28th August 10-12 at Barbour Institute. Don’t forget to bring your broken stuff that might be saved, bring your repairs on the day or you can book in at email@example.com We will be always looking for handy and skilled volunteers, we need to give people a break and cover absences, so if you would like to volunteer as repairer please do get in touch.