A rainy day in Hemyock it may have been but that certainly didn’t deter visitors to the sixth Blackdown Hills Repair Café, completing the first year of our bi-monthly events. The Parish Hall was packed with volunteer repairers and customers alike and we took in around 120 items during the morning, of which about 60% were repaired, mended or fixed and another 15% either taken offsite for repair in a proper workshop or details given of where to access required spare parts.
Let me give you another statistic. At our launch event in March 2018, we had 16 volunteer repairers, in January 2019 this figure was 28, covering electrical items, clothing and textiles, bicycles, computers, garden tools and knife sharpening, clocks and watches, ceramics, jewellery and small items of furniture. In fact, pretty much everything!
So here are a handful of comments received from some of our customers. “The Repair Cafe is a treasure trove of practical skills which I wish I possessed myself…… I took in a broken wooden child’s toy which, after detailed discussion among the menders, was completely restored…. on another occasion I took in two pieces of fabric, neither of which had a function independently, but when combined by a clever seamstress, were transformed into a lovely “throw”: upcycling at its best! “.
“I had a lamp rewired, a simple enough job, but was surrounded by many talented people willing and very able to fix just about anything one can imagine! It’s good to see that not all things are made with built in obsolescence and, if you care enough about something, it can be mended. Take it along to a Repair Café and let them work their magic.”
“A village hall filled with tables backed by enthusiastic volunteers awaited us offering a multiplicity of skills. I was able to have expert care on restoring an ageing Dyson vacuum cleaner and …. and an elderly clock that had been overwound. Both are still operating successfully thanks to their dedicated attention”.
And from one of our repairers: “I thoroughly enjoy the interactions with the people who visit and use each ‘job’ as a way to engage people in thinking about the repairs being carried out and how to purchase items based on a more repair-centric ideology. The positive and encouraging atmosphere at each repair cafe has shown that there is huge support in the community for these concepts and that people clearly prefer to extend the life of items instead of simply buying new”.
So we at the Blackdown Hills Transition Group would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has been part of this enterprise – be they volunteer repairers, administrative helpers, loyal customers, Parish Councils and Magazine editors, media contacts, cake makers and anyone else we may have missed – for their wonderful support during our first year. We always welcome your comments and suggestions that can be made at www.blackdownhillstransition.net. Hopefully, we shall see you at our next Repair Café in Hemyock on Saturday 23rd March.
By Trisha Comrie