We’ve all been there – a small person tries to load toast in the DVD player, the blender’s on the blink and then the wheels fall off the pram! Life is busy enough for families without stuff breaking all the time. Now help is at hand from a community project where you can get stuff fixed for free.
Repair Cafes are held three times a month across Bath, with expert volunteers able to turn their hands to electrical repairs, child and adult bikes, toys, wooden items, sewing clothes and soft furnishings, and lots more besides. More than two thirds of items brought along are successfully fixed, a pop-up café keeps everyone well fed and watered while they wait, and all that is asked in return is a donation to help put on more repair cafes.
Lorna Montgomery founded the Bath project, part of a network of almost 2,000 community repair projects all over the world. She said there are benefits for the community, the environment and people that come along. “By fixing things, repair cafés are cutting waste, reducing the impact of making lots of new things and saving people money. All the repairs are carried out by skilled volunteers, and that creates a really friendly atmosphere, with people from all backgrounds and different skills come together to help each other.
“Visitors of all ages find it fascinating to see their items taken apart, to learn a bit about how they work and to help to find the fault and fix it. It is an education for kids and adults alike! Our amazing volunteers are so generous with their skills and they really love sharing their knowledge with people who come along. From time to time, we run ‘how to’ sessions to help people feel more confident in carrying out their own repairs as well.”
With pressures on family budgets and to try do your bit for the planet, the Repair Café helps with both. Lorna added, “Visiting a repair café is a great way to talk about the resources that go in to what we own and how reuse and repair help to reduce our impact on the planet. Lots of parents tell us they want to help their children understand the importance of looking after belongings and not assume there is a never-ending supply of new toys or clothes when something gets wrecked.
“And with a ready supply of home-made cakes and good coffee, it’s a great way for families to spend a Saturday morning and get something you love back in action at the same time.”
Upcoming repair cafes will take place on Saturday 16 February (at New Oriel Hall), on Saturday 2 March (Southdown Methodist Church), Saturday 9 March (at Weston Hub) and Saturday 16 March back at New Oriel Hall.