Have you heard of Repair Cafés? They were originally set up in the Netherlands in 2009 with the aim of helping people fix items for free to avoid waste and to build a sense of community.
There are now over 2,230 Repair Cafés around the world including Belgium, France, the United States, India and Japan, repairing over 40,000 items a month!
Devon has a fantastic number of Repair Cafés run by the community for the community. Skilled menders and talented amateurs give their time and expertise for free to help people fix items that might have otherwise been thrown away. They usually run monthly and depending on who is there and what skills they have, they will attempt to fix everything from hairdryers to bikes to jewellery:
- Ashburton Repair Café
- Abbotskerswell Repair Workshop
- Axminster Repair Café
- Barnstaple Repair Café (Plastic Free North Devon)
- Bideford Repair Café
- Bishopsteignton Repair Café (Sustainable Bishop)
- Blackdown (Hemyock) Hills Repair Café
- Bovey and Heathfield Repair Café
- Bradninch Repair Café (Sustainable Bradninch)
- Braunton Repair Café (Plastic Free North Devon)
- Broadhembury Green Repair Café
- Chudfix Repair Café
- Chulmleigh Repair Café (Sustainable Chulmleigh)
- Crediton Repair Café
- Dartington Repair Café (ReStore Dartington)
- Exeter Repair Café
- Exmouth Repair Café
- High Bickington and Atherington Repair Café
- Horrabridge Repair Café
- Honiton Repair Café (Honiton CAG)
- Ivybridge Repair Café (Ivybridge’s Share Shop)
- Kingsbridge Repair Café (Kingsbridge Climate Action)
- Landkey Repair Café (Plastic Free North Devon)
- North Tawton Repair Café
- Tiverton Repair Café (Sustainable Tiverton)
- Topsham Repair Café
- Sidmouth Repair Café
- Uffculme Repair Café (Uffculme Green Team)
So, what happens at a Repair Café?
You will be met at the front desk by volunteer, who will ask you to fill in some paperwork and then you will be given a number. When the mender you need is available, you will be shown to their workstation. Then you will get to watch as your item is hopefully fixed. Then as you leave, hand in your paperwork and don’t forget to leave your donation.
Repair Cafés are an amazing community resource, staffed by people who give their time for free. Perhaps you have some time or skills that you contribute? Volunteers of all descriptions are always needed so if you have any admin. skills or are good with social media, consider popping along to your Repair Café to find out if you can help.
The world has limited resources – let’s not waste them.
The Restart Project
The Restart Project is trying to help people value and use their electronics for longer by repairing them when they break. They help communities run local repair events where people can work with skilled volunteers to give their broken or slow electronic devices a second life, from tablets to toasters, from iPhones to headphones. They also work with schools and organisations to help them value and use their electronics for longer.
By bringing people together to share skills and gain the confidence to open up their stuff, they give people a hands-on way of making a difference.