My Experience of a Repair Café | The Yorkshire Dad of 4

My Experience of a Repair Café

As a society, it has become too easy for us to throw things away without giving a second thought to the environment. Consumerism has taken over and buying a replacement is often far more convenient that repairing something that is broken. People lack the skills nowadays to repair things at home, maybe even lack the desire. I had a decent winter coat where the zipper had broken. I could have thrown it away and replaced it, but instead, I tried out local repair café.

What is a repair café?

In 2009, Martine Postma came up with the original concept of a repair café. In October of that year, the first one was held in Amsterdam. Following this, in 2020 the Repair Café Foundation was formed to support community groups around the world in setting up their own repair cafés.

You come along with your broken items and volunteers with the skills to repair them do so or at least make an attempt. There is no charge but a voluntary contribution is encouraged, along with sticking around to enjoy a cup of tea and a slice of cake.

You can stick around to help and maybe learn a new skill, or leave it with them and call back later.

The repair café in my local rural town is run by the town environment group and they hold them every two months. This group runs a number of initiatives, including bring and take days. These are where people bring unwanted items that would otherwise be going to the tip and others take what they want without any money changing hands. We still use an old 1980s food processor I picked up from one of these days!

My coat repair

I originally took my winter coat to be repaired back in November. At the time it was more of an exploratory visit for me to find out if a repair was possible. When it comes to things like this I am no expert.

A nice lady looked at my coat and said she could put in a new zipper if I got one. So, she measured the coat and told me to order a 73cm zipper. She removed the one in my coat and hung onto it until this past weekend.

It turned out that although I ordered 73cm zipper, I was sent one a bit too long for my coat. Thankfully, the lady had come prepared and already salvaged a zipper from some other item that was the perfect length.

It took her all morning but she installed the new sipper and my coat is as good as new.

Make do and mend

As a tight Yorkshireman, spending money doesn’t come easily to me. Repairing something is much more economical and better for the environment on the whole. My donation of £5 into the pot was a fraction of what it might have cost to take it to a seamstress. 

I do believe that as a society we could really benefit from more of a make do and mend attitude. These repair cafés are a fantastic idea to help people do this.

Thanks for reading.



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