Cloughjordan’s First Repair Cafe

What do you do with a broken toaster or lamp? Or with a chair that’s gone a bit wonky? Or when your sweater is holey? Toss it? No way! Cultivate and WeCreate Workspace are organising the first Repair Café and Fab Lab Open Day in Cloughjordan, Co Tipperary on Saturday 23 June, from 10 am to 4 pm.

At WeCreate Workspace, in the Ecovillage in Cloughjordan on 23 June everything centres on making repairs. Starting from 10 am and ending at 4 pm, volunteer repair helpers will be available to help people repair their items, free of charge. Tools and materials will also be on hand. People visiting the Repair Café will bring along their broken items from home. Toasters, lamps, clothes, furniture, computers and gadgets, toys… anything that is broken is welcome. The Repair Café specialists have the know-how to help you repair your item or how to make a fix-it plan if they don’t.

By promoting repairs, Cultivate and WeCreate want to help reduce mountains of waste. This is absolutely necessary, according to Devyn Olson-Sawyer, Repair Café organiser. “We throw away piles of stuff in Ireland. Even things which practically have nothing wrong with them, and which could easily be used again after a simple repair. Unfortunately, many people have forgotten that they can have things repaired. Repair Café wants to change all that.” The idea behind the Repair Café is to minimise waste, but also share new skills. For example, the Repair Café has a “Sharpening Station” so people can bring kitchen knives and hand tools that they would like to learn how to sharpen, which is a skill not everyone has.

Repair Café is also meant to put neighbours in touch with each other in a new way. And to discover that a lot of know-how and practical skills can be found close to home. Devyn Olson-Sawyer: “If you repair a table, a CD player or a pair of trousers together with a previously unfamiliar neighbour, you look at that person in a different light the next time you run into them on the street. Jointly making repairs can lead to new connections in the neighbourhood.”

She points out that repairs can save money and resources and can help minimise CO2 emissions. “But above all, Repair Café just wants to show how much fun repairing things can be, and how easy it often is.”

Repair Café Foundation

The Repair Café concept arose in the Netherlands, in 2009, and was developed by Martine Postma, at the time an Amsterdam-based journalist/publicist. In 2010, she started the Repair Café Foundation (see Repaircafe.org). This foundation provides support to local groups around the world wishing to start their own Repair Café. The foundation also supports the Repair Café in Cloughjordan.

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