Wolverhampton starts its own Repair Café

What do you do with a broken toaster? Or with a bike when the wheel is broken? Or with a sweater full of moth holes? Toss it? No way! Wolverhampton for Everyone is organising the first Repair Café at Gatis Street Community Space, Gatis Street, Wolverhampton WV6 0ET on Saturday 23 March 11:00 am – 1:00 pm.

Starting from 11:00 am and ending at 1:00 pm, Wolverhampton for Everyone would like to introduce you to Repair Cafes where everything centres on making repairs. We will tell you all about Repair Cafes and how you can get involved in the next one either as a ‘fixer’ (someone that helps people do repairs) or by bringing things along to be repaired. Various volunteer repair experts (or fixers) will be available to help make all sorts repairs with you free of charge. Tools and materials will also be on hand. People visiting the Repair Café will bring along their broken items from home. Toasters, lamps, hair dryers, clothes, bikes, toys, crockery… anything that is broken is welcome and can more than likely be repaired. Our Repair Café fixers usually have the know-how and will work with you to repair your items.

By promoting repairs, Wolverhampton for Everyone wants to help reduce mountains of waste. This is absolutely necessary, according to Adam Billington, who is part of the group leading the initiative. “We throw away piles of stuff in the United Kingdom. Even things which have practically nothing wrong with them, and which could easily be used again after a simple repair. Unfortunately, many people have forgotten that they can have things repaired. Wolverhampton Repair Café wants to change all that.”

Repair Café is also meant to put neighbours in touch with each other in a new way and to discover that a lot of know-how and practical skills can be found close to home. Adam added that, “If you repair a bike, a CD player or a pair of trousers together with a neighbour you didn’t previously know, you will have something in common the next time you see them. Jointly making repairs can lead to so much more than doing the repairs themselves. This is at the heart of our approach”

Bill points out that repairs can save money and resources and can help minimise CO2 emissions. “But above all, our Repair Café just wants to show how much fun repairing things can be, and how easy it often is.”

Wolverhampton Repair Café is a partnership of local organisations which includes Gatis Community Space, the Hope Community, Wood Saints, Newhampton Arts Centre, Ashmore Park Hub, local individuals, Wolverhampton Voluntary Sector Council and City of Wolverhampton Council.

Repair Café Foundation

The Repair Café concept arose in the Netherlands, in 2009, and was formulated by Martine Postma, at the time an Amsterdam-bases journalist/publicist. In 2010, she started the Repair Café Foundation (see Repaircafe.org). This foundation provides support to local groups around the world wishing to start their own Repair Café. The foundation also supports the Repair Café in Wolverhampton.

Wolverhampton for Everyone will be organising regular Repair Cafes from 23 March, after this first familiarisation session. News about dates and locations of up-and-coming Repair Cafes will follow soon.