City's first repair cafe will revive our treasured skills and items

julise2-a0301350

A concept popular all around the globe, repair cafés are free meeting places and which are all about repairing things together.

In a Repair Café you’ll find tools and materials to help you make any repairs you need, for clothes, furniture, electrical appliances, bicycles, crockery, appliances, and toys, among other things. You’ll also find expert volunteers, with repair skills in all kinds of fields. 

The movement that has led to over 2000 cafes around the world striving to preserve repair skills in society and to promote more repairable products. It was first initiated by Martine Postama in Amsterdam 2017.

And now Julie Danby, Rebecca Neal and Andy Chapman are launching Peterborough's very own repair café in a first for the city, although there’s one group in progress outside the city in Yaxley. 

Julie also started the Refill Revolution shop in Peterborough, based at the Green Backyard last July – a shop offering ethical alternative to regular grocery shopping - before the new project took shape.

Julie said: “I have been thinking of the repair cafe – there's one open in Oundle, and Market Harborough and I really wanted to see one in Peterborough. I started talking to PECT, linking it with their blueprint project. 

“I got in touch with another couple who have been involved in a repair café somewhere else.  

“We had our first meet this weekend and PECT came along too.

"There was a retired GP who was great at repairing bikes, there were a couple of lads who were good at repairing computers, there was a handyman, a teacher – so a mix of people who were passionate and interested at fixing things, interested in seeing how things work.  

“We have got a solid group of people behind us and now we're trying to find a venue – we are looking at the Hackspace as a possible one. We want to move around the city, even the town centre, to some other location each month. 

“People can bring their toasters, kettles or necklace or bike. The idea is you take something that your granddad would repair – nothing fancy or expensive like a diamond ring.

"But something small – like a motor that needs replacing in an appliance so things your granddad would be able to do and fix. It’s a skill that’s lost now and we want to encourage the concept again, encouraging recycling of things rather than throwing it and buying a new one.

"It might only buy you another year or so, but still, it reduces the burden on landfills. 

“It’s also all about teaching people. We want them to learn how it's done, teaching them to repair things. It will be done in front of people so they can learn the skills. 

“You can give a donation for the café - there will be cuppa and cakes for people if they want to have a chat and catch up. 

“The concept of repair café is popular all over the world – they provide amazing support – from insurance to spare parts and glue, so it’s a fantastic support from the organisation. We have been into the Cambridge one to see how it’s done, so there’s a whole community offering support to get the Peterborough café off the ground.” 

If anyone would like to be involved (either repairing, helping to run it, making cakes) get in touch with the team via email Peterborough.repair.cafe@gmail.com .