What is a Repair Café?

Repair Cafés are free events where people who have items that need repairing are put in touch with people who have the necessary skills to repair the items. This can include: clothes, furniture, electrical appliances, bicycles, crockery, toys etc. Items are repaired for free but customers are encouraged to make a donation to allow the Repair Café to continue to run.

There are over 1,300 Repair Cafés worldwide. Other Repair Cafés near Portsmouth include:

Why use a Repair Café?

We throw away vast amounts of stuff. Even things with almost nothing wrong, and which could get a new lease on life after a simple repair. The trouble is, lots of people have forgotten that they can repair things themselves or they no longer know how. Knowing how to make repairs is a skill quickly lost. Society doesn’t always show much appreciation for the people who still have this practical knowledge, and against their will they are often left standing on the sidelines. Their experience is never used, or hardly ever.

The Repair Café changes all that! People who might otherwise be sidelined are getting involved again. Valuable practical knowledge is getting passed on. Things are being used for longer and don’t have to be thrown away. This reduces the volume of raw materials and energy needed to make new products. It cuts CO2 emissions, for example, because manufacturing new products and recycling old ones causes CO2 to be released.

The Repair Café teaches people to see their possessions in a new light. And, once again, to appreciate their value. The Repair Café helps change people’s mindset. This is essential to kindle people’s enthusiasm for a sustainable society. But most of all, the 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?

The History of the Repair Movement

The Repair Café was initiated by Martine Postma. Since 2007, she has been striving for sustainability at a local level in many ways. Martine organised the very first Repair Café in Amsterdam, on October 18, 2009. It was a great success. This prompted Martine to start the Repair Café Foundation. Since 2011, this non-profit organisation has provided professional support to local groups in the Netherlands and other countries wishing to start their own Repair Café.

Creating a Repair Culture without Competing With Local Repair Professionals

It would not be unreasonable to ask whether access to free repair get-togethers is competing with local professional repair specialists. The answer is quite the opposite. Organisers want to use Repair Cafés across the whole country to focus attention on the possibility of getting things repaired. Repair Cafés run for a limited time each month and visitors are frequently advised to go to the few professionals still around for more time consuming repairs. Furthermore, people who visit Repair Cafés are not usually customers of repair specialists. It is not unusual to see local repair specialists actually volunteering at Repair Cafés.