Devizes Repair Cafe
In January 2020 Sustainable Devizes ran an event on Repair and Reuse, where a founding member of the Salisbury Repair Cafe came along and explained what they are doing and how they started out. This went down well with those present and by the end of the evening we had over 25 volunteers to help start up a Repair Cafe here in Devizes.
Since then we have secured grant funding for start-up costs from the Devizes Area Board of Wiltshire Council. It was our intention to run the first Repair Cafe session on Saturday 2nd May, however the COVID-19 lockdown forced us to delay this. In the end we ran our first session on 25th July in The Shambles, fixing bicycles and sharpening tools & knives. This was pleasingly busy and so we are aiming to run similar events regularly - as the COVID-19 situation allows, each focusing on a couple of specific types of repair.
Our second Repair Cafe session in September was timed to coincide with the first Devizes Indies Day and The Shambles was buzzing with activity. Even our MP Danny Kruger was intrigued enough to drop by for a chat.
Check out the Devizes Repair Cafe Facebook group if you are interested in helping out, or just coming along.
Why a Repair Café?
Western society revolves round consumption. We increasingly buy more things and throw away more than ever. We use the luxury items we own for shorter times. As soon as these items show the slightest defects – such as a stool with a wobbly leg, a CD player with a lid that won’t open or a woollen jumper with a hole in the elbow – we throw them away and buy a new product. Many things get thrown away within the space of one year.
Very few people even think about the possibility of repairing the old product. Most people no longer know how to repair things. This type of knowledge is noticeably on the decline. People still in possession of this practical know-how (such as craftspeople, the elderly and non-skilled workers) are often not adequately appreciated by society and even find themselves standing on the side-lines against their will. Their know-how is never used, or hardly ever. Yet it is these people who could greatly contribute towards making our society more sustainable. By using them as supervisors during repair meetings, many positive effects can be achieved at the same time. People who might otherwise be side-lined are involved again. Valuable practical knowledge is passed on. The volume of raw materials and energy needed to make new products is reduced. Furthermore, repairing instead of throwing away helps to cut CO2 emissions; manufacturing new products and recycling old ones causes CO2 to be released.
Repair Café teaches people to see their possessions in a new light. And, once again, to appreciate their value. Repair Café helps change people’s mind-set. This is essential to kindle their enthusiasm for a sustainable society.
But above all, Repair Café just wants to show how much fun repairing things can be, and how easy it often is. Why don’t you give it a go?