Peterborough's Repair Café starting this April

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The repair café will be held on the first Saturday of the month, starting from April 2, at a different location each time.

For those of who are not familiar with this international concept, 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 idea is to reduce landfill, and empower people to make simple fixes themselves, or at least to recognise when something can be repaired. 

A Repair Café doesn’t take the place of professional repairs, but fills the gap that community used to occupy.  

In the past, people would mend and repair, and share those skills with family and neighbours. Your grandad might have taught you to fix a puncture, and your aunt next door could have shown you how to use a sewing machine. These days families are fragmented, people don’t always know their neighbours, and we are encouraged, with artificially-low prices, to throw things away and consume more. The upshot is that skills are being lost, money is wasted, and more stuff ends up in the bin or sitting unused in a cupboard. The more things we consume the more energy and resources are needed, and the greater impact we have on our planet. 

Green-business owner Julie Danby runs Refill Revolution Peterborough, a shop based at The Green Backyard, where you can reduce plastic waste by buying what you need in re-fillable containers.  

She has teamed up with passionate environmentalists Rebecca Neal and Andy Chapman to help tackle the issue of our throw-away society.  

The George Alcock Centre in Stanground have made a financial contribution to get the project off the ground, and will host the first Peterborough Repair Café on April 2.

To make them as accessible as possible, the sessions will rotate around several other locations across the city on the first Saturday of every month. You’ll find them at The HackSpace in Bretton, WestRaven Community Garden in Ravensthorpe, and Railworld Wildlife Haven near the city centre. 

As well as getting your precious item fixed, you might be able to join a free workshop, sit and chat with new people, and perhaps try your hand at upcycling. You’ll find out what community means to each location, and how you can get involved to make Peterborough a friendlier, happier, and more sustainable place to live. Repairs are free and people are encouraged to leave a donation if they can. 

The Repair Café is looking for more volunteers who can fix home electrical appliances, (vacuum cleaners, food mixers, radios etc.), use a sewing machine to mend clothes, do simple maintenance and repairs to bikes, or sharpen home and garden tools. This list is not exhaustive, so if you have skills in fixing any type of portable item that someone might bring from home, then they will be pleased to hear from you. 

Rebecca said "Repair Café is more than a place to fix things, it's also a social occasion, so if you would like to help meet, greet and chat with people, then please do get in touch. I can't fix anything, but I can make a cake!" 

Andy added: "I can make a cake, but also know how to mend the food mixer! I like helping people, and it gives me a buzz to think I have saved that item from being thrown away." 

The Repair Café is also looking for local sponsorship, so if your company might be interested in supporting this project by supplying a tool kit, or money for consumables, get in touch. 

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 .