Bristol's Repair Cafe Fixing the World one Thing at a Time
Although we love running Architectural Décor, (and it takes most of our time!), we do get the odd morning off and one of the things we most enjoy is helping out at our local Repair Café.
Repair Cafes http://repaircafe.org/ are an idea started in Holland by Martine Postma. The very first Repair Café was held in Amsterdam in 2009. The basic idea is that people get together to share repair skills and try and keep as many of our possession out of landfill as possible. It’s all free and our ‘experts’, some professionals, but mostly people who have always lived a ‘make do and mend’ life so bring amazing repair skills, have a huge range of practical skills (we haven’t had to turn ‘fix’ away yet!). They donate their time (and the odd tube of glue or jubilee clip) and give up a Saturday morning once a month to work their way through a mountain of electrical items, clothes, bikes, toys, tools and pretty much everything else you can think of!
Many people arrive for the first time with a broken item in a carrier bag or suitcase, a bit nervous, not really sure if their item can be fixed. Many had thought of trying to get items mended but are put off as many jobs are small, and have often been told ‘it’s cheaper to replace’ than fix. However we find the vast majority of our fixes are simple things, a perished washer in an expensive coffee maker; a lose solder in a printer; a bust zip in a favorite pair of jeans. One of the interesting things is how often people have thought about ‘having a go’ at home, but thought it beyond them. Watching our experts and hearing how often our experts learned by just ‘having a go’ themselves often gives people the inspiration to either try a repair at home or drag the sewing machine out!
Repair Café however isn’t trying to replace repair businesses.
We hold ours in a local Church, which works brilliantly. They run a coffee morning alongside, so we also benefit from some of the best homemade cake for miles around! And there’s a second hand book sale to browse whilst awaiting time with an expert
The other delight (and something I hadn’t considered beforehand) is how it brings our neighbours together. Repair Café works best when part of your community, somewhere you can just pop in on a Saturday morning along with other ‘normal’ errands. We are trying in small way to change the idea that when something breaks, you immediately discard it and so being local and run by friends and neighbours turns a chore into a social occasion!