What is a Repair Cafe?
When people hear the term Repair Cafe they often think of the TV programme called the Repair Shop where a team of highly skilled experts work in isolation in a permanent location to provide detailed repairs.
A Repair Cafe is a bit different from this! For starters most Repair Cafes are pop-up events that are run for a few hours a month in community spaces by volunteers. A woman called Martine Posma came up with the idea in 2007 and launched the first Repair Cafe in Amsterdam. Her goal? To create an opportunity for people to come together and share knowledge that would enable things to be repaired that would otherwise be thrown away.
Martine understood that lots of people don’t know or don’t have the confidence to repair things themselves. At the same time there are people with skills to repair and bring items back into use. A Repair Cafe brings these people together in a supportive and welcoming community space.
On top of that a Repair Cafe will help stop so many items being thrown away – saving precious resources by keeping things in use for longer rather than having to buy new.
Does the Repair Cafe take business away from existing repairers?
Experience from other Repair Cafes suggests that this is not the case and in some instances local repairers may even benefit. The Repair Cafe will provide a space to repair things that are not economical to repair commercially. Where more complex repairs are required visitors will be advised to go to a local repairer.
What sort of things get repaired at a Repair Cafe?
That depends on the skill and availability of your repairers! Usually there are a range of types of repairs available – from simple electrical and electronics, through to small furniture, clothing and even bikes.
About Repair Café Isle of Wight
In March 2020 Planet Aware and Shaping Newport hosted a public meeting to discuss the idea of launching a new Repair Café on the Isle of Wight. The meeting attracted over 30 people keen to support this by offering a venue and as volunteers. Among them were a small team willing to spend some time getting the Repair Cafe up and running.
Covid-19 put plans on hold for a while but in June the team started meeting regularly online to take forward the creation of a Repair Cafe for the Island. Building on the discussions at the March meeting the group agreed a set of core principles and ethos for the Repair Cafe (see below) before embarking on the tasks needed including:
- Finding a suitable accessible venue
- Developing procedures (including a Covid-19 risk assessment) to run a safe Repair Café
- Recruiting and supporting volunteer-
- Sourcing funding
- Developing marketing and publicity
The First Repair Café Isle of Wight session will be in early 2021. The venue for the first Repair Café will probably be a central location in Newport that is accessible and easy to reach. But a Repair Café can take place anywhere on the Island where there is a desire (and a local need) to set up and run one.
Repair Café Isle of Wight is set up with the aim of:
- Keeping items out of landfill and in use for longer
- Bringing people together from different communities, sharing skills and knowledge
- Enabling people to build resilience and confidence and a greater connection with the things they own
- Encouraging a respect for our natural resources as well as the things that we use in a way that supports a circular economy instead of a take, make and throw one
- Providing an overarching support to communities that want to run their own repair cafes
Repair Café Isle of Wight has a culture of inclusivity and respect and we encourage everyone who supports its aims to be involved if they want to be.
How do I find out more?
If you want to get involved with Repair Cafe Isle of Wight or just want to be on the mailing list for when it launches you can email email@example.com. You can also join the Facebook group – search for Repair Cafe Isle of Wight.