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‘I look forward to seeing Repair Cafes being set up everywhere in the world. Fantastic news!’

This is a quote made by a visitor to the first Repair Café held in the foyer of an Amsterdam theatre on the afternoon of Sunday 18 October 2009. This simple idea was the brainchild of a Dutch journalist/publicist, Martine Posta who was inspired to set up a meeting place where people could bring broken items to be repaired free by specialists.

The first Repair Café was such a great success that Martine felt that she had tapped into a clear need. This prompted her to set up the Dutch Repair Café Foundation in March 2010 which organised the opening of ten Repair Cafes across Amsterdam. Her initiative also raised over 500,000 Euros including a significant grant from the Dutch government which helped with the staffing and marketing costs and the purchase of a Repair Café vehicle.

 

Since January 2011, the Foundation has provided support to local groups in the Netherlands and other European countries wishing to start their own Repair Café. Now, five years later, the initiative has seen 700 Repair Cafes opening in 17 countries worldwide including in countries such as Chile, USA, Brazil and Australia.

 

You can find out more about the Dutch Repair Foundation at www.repaircafe.org

 

We founded Malvern Hills Repair Cafe in December 2012 after being inspired by a newspaper article on the growing network of Repair Cafes in the Netherlands.  Malvern, with its long history of attracting those skilled in the practical, technical and engineering professions, seemed a good place to try out the idea in England.  The town also has a vibrant volunteer network and a high number of retired or semi-retired persons willing to give their time and skills to helping in the local communilty.  After doing some market research, it was decided to hold one session and see whether people supported it.  They did - and over the months the Repair Cafe has grown in popularity to become a regular feature in the Malvern calendar.   The first Repair Cafe opened its doors at Malvern Cube in Albert Road North on Saturday 1st December 2012.  35 people visited during the four hours and their positive response encouraged us to continue with the enterprise.  As it approaches its third anniversary in December, it has become a regular and popular feature in the Malvern calendar attracting an average of 52 customers each month.

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To date, 1500 customers have brought more than 2200 household and personal items to be examined and assessed and the repair success rate is a consistent 80%.  The team of multi-skilled and committed volunteers and repairers has steadily grown to almost 35 which includes a competent sewing team.  Several of the volunteers have supported the venture since it first opened in 2012. 

 

This photo was taken at the Repair Cafe's second anniversary in December 2014.

 

The Repair Cafe has recently moved from Malvern Cube to the Quaker Meeting house in Orchard Road, Great Malvern where it will continue to open on the third Saturday in each month.  The next session is from 10.00 am to 2.00 pm on 19 December.

 

If you would like to get involved with the Malvern Hills Repair Cafe, please get in touch.