If it’s broken, get it fixed


Rye is to have it’s first Repair Cafe, to take place at 10am-12:30pm on Saturday, May 18 at the community centre on Conduit Hill. If you have anything that needs fixing, or just want to find out what it’s about, please do come along. The lead group of five enthusiastic individuals, worried about the throwaway society, has decided to set up the Repair Cafe. It will encourage people to have items mended rather than throwing them away simply because they are broken or damaged or not working, encouraging sustainability.

The cafe serves a wider social purpose too, as it brings the community together, for people to meet each other to chat and have a coffee and cake and talk to the volunteers. It is a useful way of people with skills to put them to use, not just to carry out the repair needed, but also to show the customers how repairs are done, so that they can acquire new skills too. The group has now found about a dozen volunteers with repair skills: these include mechanical items, fixing bikes, mending or sewing garments, small furniture or art repairs.

A PAT tester has been obtained, so that electrical equipment can be tested for safety. Also, a whetstone sharpening tool has been acquired, which means you can bring knives, scissors or chisels along for sharpening. During the session there is tea, coffee and cake available for visitors waiting and of course for the volunteers. The Repair Cafe is not a new idea, they are springing up all over the world.

The first Rye Repair Cafe at the Community Centre

Recently we visited the Tenterden Repair Cafe to see how it was organised there (see pictures below). There were several volunteers in front of house, willing WI members providing coffee and cake.

In the main area were about seven repairers and a runner to make sure customers were taken in turn to the relevant repairer. Rye Repair Cafe will adopt a similar strategy and look forward to the first opening. One very important consideration in setting up this voluntary community service is ensuring that local businesses offering repairs do not lose out. Rye Repair Cafe will be signposting these businesses, with the intention of boosting their business by changing the whole mindset about repairs. In fact we would welcome any professional repairers to assist on the day, to promote their business. Any local businesses offering repairs that have not already been contacted by Rye Repair Cafe are very welcome to make contact on the email address below.

As this is our first opening of the cafe please bear with us if you cant find the repairer you hoped for. Talk to one of the volunteers in front of house and they will endeavor to help with your query. While the service is free, we would encourage donations to help pay for the hall hire and refreshments. We are hoping to make this a regular monthly event in time. If you are interested in volunteering or wish to know more, please email us: ryerepaircafe@gmail.com

Image Credits: Dominic Manning , Heidi Foster .

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  1. Such an excellent concept. I recall an article several years ago with an elderly couple reaching a milestone wedding anniversary: the interviewer asked their secret to a long and happy marriage? The gentleman replied that when they had problems, they worked through them together and fixed them, as they did with household items that didn’t work. They couldn’t afford to replace them – nor did they want to – and fixing was the only option.


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