There is a repair revolution gathering pace in Buckinghamshire and the County Council is encouraging people to take part in the county’s Repair Cafés – and maybe even start one themselves in their local area. Repair Cafés are free meeting places where people come together to repair things.

Visitors bring their broken items from home and, working together with specialists, they make repairs which means that the item continues its useful life rather than becoming part of the vast amount of rubbish our society produces. And the idea is spreading! There are over 1,500 Repair Cafés worldwide and Buckinghamshire is now home to three – in Marlow, Aston Clinton and Princes Risborough.  Buckinghamshire County Council is supporting these volunteer groups and is putting the call out for any other groups that want to get started. Bill Chapple OBE, Buckinghamshire County Council Cabinet Member for Planning & Environment, said: “It’s been called the throwaway society – the tendency to simply to replace an item with something new when the slightest fault or damage occurs.  The old item just becomes waste even though it could have easily been repaired with a little time and some basic know-how. “That’s where the Repair Café comes in.  It’s a place where people get together to share practical knowledge and have fun mending and repairing their things to give them a new lease of life. Repairing has a double environmental benefit – not only does the old item not have to be disposed of as waste, but Earth’s valuable resources don’t have to be used in the manufacture of a replacement.” 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 18 October 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.  The Repair Café Foundation sometimes gets asked whether access to free repair gettogethers is competing with 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.  Visitors are frequently advised to go to the few professionals still around. Furthermore, people who visit Repair Cafés are not usually customers of repair specialists. They say that they normally throw away broken items because paying to have them repaired is generally too expensive. At the Repair Café they learn that you don’t have to throw things away;  there are alternatives. Repair Cafés are free meeting places and they’re all about repairing things (together). In the Repair Café you’ll find tools and materials to help you make any repairs you need on clothes, furniture, electrical appliances, bicycles, crockery, appliances, toys etc. You’ll also find expert volunteers with repair skills in all kinds of fields. Visitors bring their broken items from home. Together with the specialists they start making their repairs in the Repair Café. It’s an ongoing learning process. If you have nothing to repair you can just come along and enjoy a cup of tea or coffee. Or you can lend a hand with someone else’s repair job. You can also get inspired at the reading table by leafing through books on repairs and DIY.

Further information on Repair Cafés: The Repair Café movement: en/about/ Repair Cafés in Bucks: www. Aston Clinton, Every second Saturday of the month from 9am till 12 noon – www.repaircafe. org/en/location/aston-clinton-repair-cafe/.

© The Claydons Parish Magazine

April 2020