Repair cafes – what a brilliant idea

Devon is embracing the Repair Café revolution with more residents than ever before choosing to breathe new life into old possessions and having them fixed instead of throwing them away. What a brilliant idea for other places in north Cornwall/Devon.

But now, as more people are choosing repair and reuse over discard and buy more, Devon’s six Repair Cafes are urging the county’s hidden handymen and women to sign up and join their army of volunteer fixers.

And it’s not just fixers and repair people they need – each café needs volunteers to help in a variety of roles from greeting to admin.

Thursday 18 October marks nine years since the international repair café movement began – today there are over 1,600 Repair Cafés in 33 countries and on every continent.

In Devon, there are no cafes in the north of the county but there are cafes in TivertonDartingtonExeterExmouth,  Sidmouth and in the Blackdown Hills. A Repair Café in Crediton is due to open next month with a further four set to open next year.

Hundreds of Devon residents have used these volunteer-run cafes and taken anything from broken furniture, electrical appliances and bicycles to textiles, crockery and toys to be fixed for free.

Some cafes are monthly, others are set up in community venues such as church halls, but they are all underpinned with a unifying ethos – a meeting place where residents can turn up and have their possessions repaired.

Recycle Devon’s Reuse Officer Catherine Causley said: “These events help householders waste less and enable them to save money by not having to replace something that could be repaired and often repair something that can never be replaced.

“But as these events become more popular, the more Repair Cafes need expert fixers and volunteers to help out.

“So regardless if you’re an electronics professional, expert seamstress or a keen volunteer willing to take on anything from threading needles and sewing on buttons to fixing a mobile phone, computer, TV or vacuum cleaner please consider offering just a few hours a month of your time.”

And if you have nothing for repair, you can always enjoy a cup of tea or coffee, soak in the community atmosphere or even lend a hand with someone else’s repair job.

Councillor Andrea Davis, the Chair of the Devon Authorities Strategic Waste Committee said: “Repair Cafés are wonderful places – they teach people to see their possessions in a new light and appreciate their value.
“They can also help change people’s mindset which is essential to encourage people’s enthusiasm for a sustainable society. But most of all Repair Cafés have  a lovely community atmosphere and can show just how much fun repairing things can be. So why don’t you pop down for a visit.”

For more information on Repair Cafes in Devon click here.

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