It’s an event where you bring along broken things, and volunteers from your community do their best to fix them for you.
They’ll also show you how to do the repair, so you can gain new skills and perhaps be able to fix your broken items in the future.
The repairs are free of charge. Donations are welcome, to help cover costs like venue hire.
It’s also a social event, as the name suggests. It’s a chance to have a cuppa and a cake and meet people from your area.
We held the first Alston Moor Repair Cafe during the Greenprint Festival in September 2017, as a trial.
It worked really well and there was a general consensus that this would be popular and a good thing for Alston Moor so after applying for funding we recruited volunteers and held four cafés in 2019.
Volunteers have fixed everything from holes in sweaters to vacuums that have given up the ghost. They’ve able to look at electricals, textiles, electronics, IT and software, plumbing and mechanical goods, among other things. By the end of 2019 we had 20 committed and skilled volunteers signed up.
We also purchased a PAT tester and trained four of the volunteers on a PAT tester accredited training course – they now use the PAT tester when people bring in small electricals, it really adds to our service and supports the safety of the volunteers and customers.
“We’ve all got things languishing in the back of the cupboard or lying in the garage that need a repair, but sometimes it can be tricky to find someone to fix them and it can be costly, too,” said Roe Baker, the Alston Moor Greenprint manager at CAfS, who organised the events. “That’s why repair cafés are becoming so popular around the country, as well as here in Cumbria. They’re such a fantastic way to keep things from being thrown out when they have a lot of life left in them.”