Every now and then our items break and we just don’t know what to do with them. The most common decision is to either throw them out or store them away, and then go on to replace them. The other option being spending, what can be, ridiculous amounts of money to have them repaired. However, thanks to a wonderful group of volunteers, those are no longer the only options that need to come to your mind. We caught up with members of St. Luke’s Uniting Church where once a month they hold an event that is known as a Repair Café. There are several Repair Cafes around Geelong, see the links below.
What is a Repair Café? It’s a place where you can bring anything you own that’s in need of repair and get it fixed for free, and get a drink and something small to eat while you wait. Household items from a Stanley knife to a push mower, the wonderful volunteers at the Repair Café will do their best to get it back in working order for you. If you have the option to get your items fixed for free, then why would you go and buy a replacement?
Back in August of 2017, Michelle Walker, along with a small group, was inspired to start up the Repair Café after watching the ‘War on Waste’ documentary series. One of the church’s other programs ‘Men’s Shed’ was a pre-existing program which had many members that already had the skills needed in order to give them the beginnings of a potential start. With a little added help and support from Geelong Sustainability they had everything that they needed to give the Repair Café a shot and see how it went. Needless to say, it was a huge success.
Since inception, they have attended to 102 items (a total of over 213kg in weight). 78% of which have been able to be repaired back to their former glory. They have also grown to have around 10 regular volunteers who work at the Repair Café. Although many of the volunteers come from the church itself, they are always looking for more volunteers who have any sort of repairing ability to come along and help out. So long as people want to help out and share their unique skills with the community, then they’ll be welcomed into the volunteer team with open arms.
Every month they get around an average of 30-40 pieces coming in to be fixed while the volunteers and patrons alike enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of the Repair Cafè. Not only is it a wonderful place to get your broken iron fixed it’s also a fantastic place to meet some new people, learn a few new things, and have a nice cup of tea or coffee.
These days are ones that both;
- help out those with something that needs to be fixed
- work to connect members of our community together.
The next Highton Repair Café at St Luke’s is Saturday 10th of February from 1pm-4pm. The dates of the future Repair Cafés can be found on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/GeelongRepairCafe/
OneCare also hold a Repair Café in Geelong West: https://www.facebook.com/repaircafes/ every third Saturday of the month from 10am – 1pm.
The Surf Coast Repair Café’s is on Feb 4th from 10am https://www.facebook.com/RepairCafeSurfCoast/
Story and photo of members of St Luke’s Repair Cafe: Gemma Nicholls