South Cambs tackles throwaway culture for International Repair Café Week

19 October 2016

A new initiative aimed at diverting broken objects from landfill whilst boosting volunteers’ repair skills has been launched in South Cambridgeshire to tackle the rise of the throwaway culture.


South Cambridgeshire roving repair café network brings together local volunteer repairers, with skills in all kinds of fields, keen to share their experience and knowledge with people who need items fixing.


The next repair café will take place during International Repair Café Week (17 to 23 October) on Saturday 22 October at the Salvation Army Hall on Station Road in Waterbeach, from 10am to 1pm. If you have any tired or broken items needing a new lease of life, from small household appliances, electrical items, computers and mobile phones to bicycles, clothes, gadgets and general bits ‘n’ bobs, bring them along to the team of volunteer repairers on the day.


To avoid disappointment, it is best to book your item in by emailing


Emma Marshal, 37, of Great Shelford visited September’s repair café in Fulbourn. She said: “I took my child’s bike and waterproof coat with broken zip to see if there was any hope of fixing them, I couldn’t bear to throw them away. Thanks to the lovely repairers, they are usable again and don’t need replacing which, for someone like me on low income, was a real godsend.”


Jay Clarke, 35, of Elsworth was a volunteer repairer at the Fulbourn café. He said: “I had a great and very rewarding day. I repaired a number of items, including a 1930s Singer sewing machine. Taking things apart from various decades was actually really interesting and I was pleased to be able to restore some people’s prize possessions.”  


Supported by South Cambridgeshire District Council, the South Cambridgeshire roving repair café network launched this summer to support the worldwide movement, originated in Amsterdam, which encourages people to repair things and move away from a culture of throwing away.


Cllr Mark Howell, South Cambridgeshire District Council’s cabinet member, with responsibility for waste and recycling, said: “We throw away piles of stuff each day, including items that could be given a new lease of life with a simple fix. Repair cafés aim to change all that, diverting more items from landfill and changing people’s mind set from throwing things to fixing things.


“It has been hugely successful so far and when better than International Repair Café Week to give it a go!”