The Kirkbymoorside Environment Group advertised in the Summer for volunteers to help in their new venture, a Repair Cafe. Mr E and I volunteered. A repair cafe is where you can take things to see if a volunteer can fix them for you, thus saving the environment from unnecessary waste and you from having to buy a new thing.
The first cafe session was yesterday. We were nervous no-one would come, or that we couldn’t fix the items brought to us.
We started early to be on the safe side, allowing an hour and a half to set things up.
That little notice by the flowers reads Repair Cafe. But the town is so little I think everyone knew where we would be.
In there , to left, in what was once the library. Library has moved and is now run solely by volunteers.
A welcoming table with a disclaimer for everyone to read and agree in writing too. A signing in sheet, which records what needs to be fixed and whether it was fixed. A pot for donations, this service is free. Donations are welcome, because there is the hire cost of the hall to consider. Tickets for the queue.
Sewing machines in place. The other three tables we covered in the cardboard to protect them from oil, solder, glue etc.
A place for people to sit, have a chat, and drink tea and coffee. There was cake too.
So did anyone come? Yes they did. We had 19 people over the threshold, 1 was just curious, but ended up carrying a lamp to a car for a satisfied repairee, 1 came to say he could fix toys and stayed to fix something , 1 husband came to be with his wife who helped with the teas and fixed a drill whilst he was there, and 16 people with more than one thing to be fixed.
Lady with a hedge trimmer which she had fetched on a bus all the way from Pickering.
Mr E fixing it. It was working when it left but the advice was to replace it as it was very worn internally. We gave her advice on where to buy a new one.
Our first lady in the door with a skirt to be altered, way past my abilities. Here she is discussing it with a talented seamstress.
And here leaving, very happy and making a donation. The chap is having a favourite shirt repaired.
Broken zip on a bag under discussion, and see the people waiting behind enjoying the refreshments.
I think that’s a dvd player under repair. The CD player behind was fixed. Periodically a machine or music player would leap into action to the joy of the owner and delight of the volunteers. Each successful fix was cheered mightily.
I made a note of the things that came in :-
a skirt, a shirt, a pair of trousers, 2 laptops, a plate, a flower pot, a hedge trimmer, a watch strap, a radio, a dress, two hoovers, a CD player, a driil, a hot plate, a speaker, an angle poise lamp, a cassette player, a charger and a handbag.
Sadly for me, no darning or knitting to fix, but as I had been put on the Welcome table, I was kept busy and I crocheted 6 small granny squares, apparently I am now making the group a blanket to be raffled for all the people who come for fixes, and some how that was my idea. One day I will learn to keep my great ideas to myself.
We thought that the room was too small, but actually it was the right size unless we get more volunteers. Two of the volunteer repairers let us down, one had a cold and one just didn’t turn up and wasn’t answering his phone. Which meant Mr E and Mr C in the last picture were rushed off their feet, and some people had to wait a very long time to be seen.
Some went off and did their shopping and came back, some stayed and chatted. One lady sat with me for ages, mesmerised by my ability to talk, crochet and not watch what I was doing the whole time, we compared the way we held our crochet hooks and yarn. We talked about yarn and knitting for our families.
I spent a while too chatting to the bag lady, the broken zip could not be fixed on the bag , we contemplated some velcro I had with me before deciding 2 buttons and nice strap or tape to link them might work.
The atmosphere was relaxed and casual. It was lovely the way people waited patiently and were so very happy. One of the broken Hoovers was brought down by the owners daughter and she was especially thrilled for her Mum.
One lady said the publicity had been good, posters were up in all local shops, so she said you could not avoid them or forget when it was.
We have scheduled the next one for November. October being half term for grand children, family visits and a give and take day.
The whole day was a huge success, so much saved from being thrown away. The lady who organised us all is 80, a talented and still professionally performing musician and artist. Her organisational skills are phenomenal, minutes kept, people chased, hall negotiated, insurance checked through the group, forms written, posters made and distributed etc . She is a marvel. Don’t believe me, this is June Emerson.
Her daughter now runs the sheet music business, but wait for it June still does the office work. What a role model.
It’s a privilege to be part of this repair cafe venture.
If you have the chance or the wish to be part of one, then go for it. It really is worthwhile.