Fulbourn Repair Cafe

Case Study - Repair Cafe

Repair Cafes are community events where volunteers with repair skills fix items brought in by the general public. They are sociable events with a relaxed atmosphere and tea, coffee and cakes are served.

The idea originated in the Netherlands and has quickly spread throughout the world.

Fulbourn is one of 10 villages in South Cambridgeshire where Repair Cafes are now held.

3 Repair Cafés have been held in Fulbourn so far, organised by Fulbourn Forum for Community Action.

Each event has had around 10 repairers who have attempted to fix around 40 items brought in by the public. These have included computers, radios, sewing machines, bicycles, jewellery, clothes and antiques.

How did they get started?

Members of Fulbourn Forum attended a workshop on 'How to set up a Repair Café' organised by our Sustainable Parish Energy Partnership (SPEP) officer. They then set up a small working group to organise the first event.

Recruiting volunteer repairers was an essential first task. A list of experienced repairers is held by Cambridge Carbon Footprint - many were happy to come and help out. People from the village with repair skills were also enlisted.

An online system was set up using Google Forms so that people could book their items for repair in advance. Posters and fliers were created and distributed, with village Facebook groups providing additional publicity.

Around 6 volunteers were needed on the day in addition to the repairers, to meet and greet the public and direct them to a suitable repairer, and to provide refreshments.

The Cambridge Repair Café Tool box was borrowed for the event (donated for use by Repair Cafes by Mackays hardware store).

How is it funded?

Repair Cafes are very low cost as all the organising and repairing is done on a voluntary basis. Costs include room hire, refreshments, a one-off payment of 49 Euros to the Repair Café Foundation for access to their digital starter kit, including permission to use their logo.

Publicity is mainly free of charge via a notice in the village newsletter and postings on the village Facebook group.

The Repair Cafes are covered under Fulbourn Forum’s public liability insurance.

Who helped with advice and guidance?

The Council’s SPEP officer put Fulbourn Forum in touch with organisers and repairers from other local Repair Cafes. They helped with planning, and on the day.

Visit The Repair Café Foundation Netherlands website to order their Starter Kit.

Information about and comprehensive guide to setting up a Repair Café can be accessed from the Repair Cafe website.

Contact the Council’s SPEP officer by emailing spep@scambs.gov.uk.

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