What is a Repair Cafe?

  • A regular event where people bring broken things in order to learn how to fix them whilst meeting other people from their area.

How do I start a Repair Cafe in my area?

  • It’s quite straightforward and simply requires enthusiasm and a bit of time to organise it. The Repair Cafe Foundation in Holland can offer you guidance and resources click here to find out more.

Is it competing with people who offer repair services as part of their business?

  • No, we attract a different group of people as the idea behind the repair cafe is to learn the skills to repair and to be part of a social activity. People who take things to be repaired tend to do so because it is convenient and they do not have the time, ability or inclination to repair those things themselves therefore the need for repair services will continue. If anything, highlighting the importance of repairing things has the potential to increase the demand for repair services for those who cannot make it to the Repair Cafe sessions.

If people repair things rather than replacing them won’t the economy suffer?

  • Slowing down consumption may not be the ideal situation for economists who constantly strive for growth, but on a planet with finite resources we cannot have infinite growth without destroying our habitat and ourselves. For further reading see E.F. Schumacher’s brilliant ‘Small is Beautiful’ & Tim Jackson’s book ‘Prosperity without Growth’.
  • The economic system is already failing so many people that it is time to consider alternatives and what form they might take. There are many examples of people who are trying to offer alternative economic solutions to the mess we are in for example the New Economics Foundation (NEF), Charles Eisenstein & Max Neef

Aren’t a lot of things made not to be repaired these day?

  • There are still many things that can be fixed relatively easily with the right tools and know-how. However, products are increasingly being produced so that they cannot be mended by their owners without highly specialised and expensive tools. Through repair cafe activities those products are being highlighted and recorded. This will give weight to putting pressure on the producers to change the way they produce their goods. For further reading on this issue see Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things by William McDonough & Michael Braungart.

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