We’ve all got them … those slightly sorry, broken objects stuffed into the cupboard under the stairs. You think you’ll get round to sorting them out one day. Or if you’re not handy (like us here at New in Cambridge!), you try to find someone who can fix these things then realise that the humongous repair bill means that it probably makes more sense to chuck said objects out and buy new. But for Cambridgeshire dwellers, there is a better way.
The Royston Repair Cafe inspired Cambridge Carbon Footprint and Transition Cambridge to kickstart the Cambridgeshire repair cafe movement about four years ago, to help reduce waste and promote skill sharing in a socially welcoming environment. Fifteen groups now run repair cafes across the county and last year, Cambridge hosted the world’s biggest repair cafe, comfortably smashing the world record for the number of repairs made.
There’s a Cambridge Repair Cafe Plus happening on Saturday 22 September at St. Andrew’s Hall, Chesterton, from 1 – 4pm. It’s a simple system. A whole range of experienced repairers volunteer their time and skills to fix all sorts of items from electricals to jewellery and bikes to books. You either pre-book or just turn up (in which case there might be a short wait) with your object for repair. There is no charge for mending things but donations are always welcome and Cambridge Carbon Footprint is grateful to Mackays and Draper Tools who sponsor and supply the tools used by the repairers. Most things can be fixed but for the 15% of items that can’t, they’ll advise you on recycling and disposal.
You’ll also find a sewing repairs skillshare. Here you can learn basic sewing skills like hemming, darning and sewing on buttons that mean you can make simple repairs yourself in future. And if you’ve got any unfinished sewing or knitting projects hanging around, they’ll help you get to grips with those too.
There’s a draught proofing and repairs workshop with information on how to make your home cosier and cut your bills plus they’ll give you a free draught proofing pack to take away. Perfect now that there’s definitely an autumnal nip in the air!
For the younger generation, there’s going to be a Kids’ Repair Cafe on Friday 26 October from 9.30am- 12.30pm. It’s hosted by the Cambridge Film Festival at Arts Picturehouse and they’ll be screening environmental films including WALL-E through the day. Children can bring consoles, mechanical toys, gaming devices, electronic toys, teddie and dolls. As with all repair cafes, kids and their parent or carer stay with the repairers, using the process as a learning experience and helping to work out the best way to repair the broken toy.
I enjoyed meeting Nicole Barton, Volunteer and Events Organiser at Cambridge Carbon Footprint, to find out more about the repair cafes before writing this post. As she says, we talk about throwing things away but where is “away”? Nicole’s a woman with a lot of amazing statistics at her fingertips but one in particular blew my mind …..
….. if you repair a 13″ Macbook rather than chuck it out and buy a new one, you save the equivalent of 750kg of carbon
I’ll leave you with that thought!
St Andrew’s Hall, Chesterton, CB4 1DH