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Don’t ditch it, fix it! A Repair Café is the antidote to our throw-away culture

Wednesday 23 June 2021, 22:50
By Alice Glover

Repair Cafe Wincanton will be opening in Cole's Yard soon

It is estimated that every year, British households throw away £800 worth of electrical goods alone, half of which goes to landfill! Given this staggering statistic, isn’t it about time we woke up to this waste and cleaned up our act?!

In our consumerist society we are actively encouraged to replace an everyday object that is broken or has succumbed to wear and tear than to have it repaired. Think again! Those beloved hair straighteners or that invaluable laptop that would be tossed reluctantly into the skip may well be able to be revived at Wincanton’s new Repair Café.

How does it work?

A repair café is a neighbourhood initiative that advocates repair and re-use as opposed to throwing things out in order to address this excess. From Saturday 26th June in eco empire Cole’s Yard (8 High Street, BA9 9JP), it will take place from 10am-1pm every 4th Saturday of the month, (or every 3rd if it’s a bank holiday). It will be hosted by a dream team of volunteers or Fixperts, as I like to call them, who are eager to get this town ‘on the mend’. Some of them will be trained professionals in their field, while others are just a ‘dab hand’ at getting things in working order.

“The trouble is that we often lack the skills or confidence to tackle the job ourselves, so we automatically get rid of the item or leave it lying around as we don’t know what else to do with it! Either way it inevitably ends up in landfill.”

 - Jane Langton, co-founder

But fear not! Over a casual cuppa her friendly team will gradually guide you through the process for free! However, if the thought of mending it yourself still fills you with dread, they will happily do it for you whilst you mingle with the other members of the group.

The Café will initially accept small, damaged wooden objects, mechanical devices in need of an overhaul, jewellery repairs and much-loved children’s toys that could do with some TLC.

Clothing and textiles, too!

A bespoke sketch of a workbench by artist Robert GloverAnother of our planet’s major pollutants is textiles, but they shouldn’t cost the earth! Over the past 20 years we have seen the rise in ‘fast fashion’: a growing culture of people with the constant urge for something new. As a result, clothing is made from poor quality, synthetic fabrics that are deliberately not meant to last to encourage the consumer to buy on a throw-away basis. Of all clothing we buy, tragically only 4.5% is recycled!

So, if some beastly critter has got to your costly cashmere and you thought, “darn it!”, at the Repair Café they can do just that! In addition, alterations can be made to ill-fitting garments and a selection of haberdashery will be on sale for you to patch it up yourself.

From Saturday 24th July, monthly, their resident leather expert will also be on hand to restore leather goods, so all manner of scratches, scuffs, rips and tears can be assessed. And if you’re a bit of a technophobe, free IT tuition will be available from 10am-12pm, monthly on the Wednesday following the Café, starting on the 30th June.

A community opportunity

While each Fixpert has their own area of expertise, a Repair Café is very much a collective effort where everyone helps each other. If an item is beyond the capabilities of one Fixpert, they may refer you to another or alternatively a specialist outlet in the local area. This is exactly the kind of community spirit that Jane hopes to foster here in Wincanton, especially during this turbulent time.

“It’ll be a great opportunity for our community to come together, to share their skills and to reconnect with one another in a warm, relaxed environment.”

Help and support needed!

Your community needs you! They are currently looking for an electrician who, so as not to get your wires crossed, must be qualified in electrical work (NVQ3) and have their own Public Liability Insurance (PLI). If you are a qualified ‘Spark’ and feel you’d be a welcome addition to the team, please don’t hesitate to contact One Planet Wincanton at or https://www.facebook.com/oneplanetwincanton.

Launch-funded with a Wincanton Town Council grant, the Repair Café is a free service given by inspiring community volunteers. If you have time and expertise to give, or you'd like to support with a donation, please contact the team. They'll be grateful for any contribution towards running costs.

Timetable

Repair Café Begins Saturday 26th June, 4th Saturday of the month (3rd if it's a bank holiday), 10am-1pm
Leather restoration Begins Saturday 24th July
I.T. tuition Begins 30th June, monthly on each Wednesday following the Repair Café, 10am-12pm

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21st July 2021: Think hard before you discard! Get it mended at the Repair Café



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