Repair Café Glasgow is putting repair at the heart of the community
Written by: Lauren Crilly, Repair Cafe Glasgow
Have you ever been frustrated because a previously perfectly functioning household item suddenly breaks and you can’t fix it? If this has been you, I sympathise and I have some good news. It’s called a repair café.
Repair cafés are bustling social spaces that are all about fixing broken things and consequently teaching people how to fix broken things. The concept grew from a project that started in the Netherlands in 2009 and now repair cafés exist all over the world including right here in Glasgow.
Since starting the project, we have hosted 26 repair events and saved just under 1,500KG of repairable items from going to landfill. Repair as an aspect of the circular economy is crucial but the lack of repair knowledge sets to hinder the growth of the circular economy. This is why we want to teach everyone how to fix everything! As well as one on one repair sessions, we host repair workshops in specific skills like basic DIY, ceramic repair and clothes mending. The repair movement is about putting people at the centre and creating space for skill sharing. Repair Cafés, and the movement surrounding them, challenge modern consumerism and give people a space where they can take practical steps to fight against climate change.
Repair Café Glasgow started in 2017 and we have been hosting monthly community repair events since May 2018. At our events, a team of repairers take on the task of fixing everything from clothes and household appliances to electrical goods. Participants are paired up with a fixer and have a chance to learn how to fix their very own item. The café aims to change the way people think about their broken items and enable them to do something about it. Our team of talented volunteers include engineers, product designers, dressmakers and DIY enthusiasts who are passionate about repair and fighting this throwaway culture we find ourselves in. We operate all our events on a pay-what-you-want basis, so they are accessible to everyone.
As well as our repair cafés, we have a pre-loved pram project. A problem we have found in our community is that prams, strollers and buggies are going to landfill whilst families in need are going without. Over the past year we have been repairing and re-homing these prams through organisations like Refuweegee, who work with new Scots in Glasgow, and Kinning Park Complex, who are a multi-use community centre. You can learn more about this project here.
In our throwaway culture, it is important to us that we help create a service where people can take charge of their own belongings again. We know we can help to close the gap on the amount of products going to waste, we just need to fix our relationship with fixing! Repair Cafés are a brilliant step forward on this mission.
For more information about Repair Cafe Glasgow, visit their website here.