Repair Cafés and why every community needs one
Published in the Darlington and Stockton Times Friday 17th March 2023.
Nowadays we buy, use, throw away and replace things that break or develop any problem, when often with a simple repair they could continue being used. Our buy, use, throw away culture carries ever increasing costs – the cost of the new item, the environmental impact of extracting, processing, and exhausting our natural resources, plus the climate impact of incinerating or burying the waste.
We’ve forgotten the make do and mend ethos of times gone by, knowing how to make repairs is a skill quickly lost. This is why every community needs a Repair Café! Repair Cafés are an international idea, summed up in their tag line – “Bin it, No way!”. You bring your broken item and spend time with people with repair skills – the item gets repaired for free (or advice is given if its beyond repair) and practical skills are passed on.
It’s worth noting that Repair Cafés differ from the TV ‘Repair Shop’ as the focus is not on restoring precious antiques but to extend the life of everyday household items.
In March 2022 Climate Action Stokesley and Villages volunteers started the now monthly Stokesley and Villages Repair Cafés. The Stokesley and Villages Repair Cafés have repaired nearly 400 broken items including vacuum cleaners, computers, kettles, furniture, decorative lamps, clothing, bicycles, toasters, crockery, dog blankets – even a singing reindeer! Our Cafés have reduced CO2 emissions (manufacturing new products and recycling or disposing of old ones causes CO2 to be released) and saved people the cost of new purchases – many thousands of pounds.
Locally, Repair Cafés are also running at Hovingham, in the Upper Esk Valley and at Thirsk with plans to start new ones in Northallerton, Guisborough and Middlesbrough.
Interested? The next Stokesley and Villages Repair Cafés will be at Swainby Village Hall on Saturday 18th March and at Stokesley Globe Community Library on Saturday 1st April, 10-12. You can find details of other local Repair Cafés via their Facebook pages or through the national Repair Cafe website
Repair Cafés are always keen to welcome new volunteers with repair skills, use the website above or for Stokesley and Villages Repair Café visit our Repair Cafe webpage.
Repair Cafés just want to show how much fun repairing things can be, and how easy it often is. There’s a free cuppa too! Of course we also accept voluntary donations to cover the costs. Why don’t you give it a go, either to get your stuff repaired or to volunteer as a helper or a repairer?
If you haven’t already completed the consultation on the new draft Climate Change Strategy for North Yorkshire Council then you still have time. The draft strategy document and a link to the Let’s Talk Climate survey can be found online. Reference copies are also available in local libraries. The consultation closes on 7 April 2023.