As a society we throw away vast amounts of stuff, even things with almost nothing wrong with them. The majority of our waste still goes into landfill as recycling options are limited and we’ve been encouraged by governments to consume more to help economic growth. Many products are intentionally designed with built-in obsolescence so that their useful life is shortened and we're forced to buy new. The knowledge and ability to repair and 'make do and mend' have been lost over the years and valuable practical skills are not being passed down the generations. It's becoming more and more obvious that our 'throwaway' society is totally unsustainable and Repair Cafés are a hands-on way to learn how this attitude fails both people and the planet.
Repair Cafés are helping to change attitudes by presenting an innovative approach to waste reduction, social cohesion and the transference of craft skills, through the act of repairing, upgrading and maintaining a broad range of products. They are a community-led initiative offering a friendly and social meeting place, open to all, where hand-portable broken, damaged or torn household and personal possessions are repaired or mended by a team of multi-skilled, highly competent repairers.
Items regularly brought to Repair Café Malvern Hills include furniture, household electrical appliances, electronic gadgets and devices, toys, garden equipment, bicycles, clocks, jewellery, ceramics, clothes and textiles.
Our repairers love fixing things and no job is too small or too challenging!
By repairing our possessions we:
feel a new appreciation for them and their value
understand the, often very simple, repair needed to extend a product’s life
reduce unnecessary waste to landfill
reduce our continued overuse and consumption of finite, non-renewable resources
reduce carbon emissions and the embedded energy in manufacturing new or recycling used products
save money by not having to buy a replacement item
help to revive long-lost or forgotten practical and useful skills which can be shared with others
How did the global Repair Café network start?
The first Repair Café opened in Amsterdam, Holland in 2009 and Repair Cafe International is continuing to offer support to community groups across the world who want to start their own Repair Cafe. During 2020 most Repair Cafes were forced to close due to the pandemic but the majority are now slowly starting to reopen. Some volunteers have not returned but others have joined the teams to carry on with this important community service. There are now over 2000 Repair Cafes globally with most located on the European mainland but also as far afield as India, Brazil, South Africa, Egypt, Japan and Australia.
The number in UK is increasing every month. Two Awards for All grants have enabled Repair Cafe Malvern Hills to provide start-up assistance and finance to support new Repair Cafes in Worcester, Redditch, Bewdley, Evesham, Kidderminster, Kenilworth, Leominster, Kinver, Alcester, Ledbury and Ludlow. Enquiries and requests for advice and guidance are continuing to arrive in our inbox.
If you want to find out more and the location of your nearest UK Repair Cafe visit the Repair Café International's website.
According to the 2017 Annual Report published by Repair Cafe International, Repair Cafés around the world saved approximately 300,000 products from being thrown away. That equates to the weight of a double-decker train with twelve carriages!
Pre-pandemic records showed that approximately 50,000 people visited a Repair Café every month where they receive help from more than 21,000 volunteers. Due to the efforts of all these people, around 300,000 kilos of CO2 emissions were saved in 2017.
You can find out more about Repair Cafe Malvern Hills' volunteers on the Volunteer page.
What is the history of Repair Cafe Malvern Hills?
Repair Café Malvern Hills was founded in December 2012 but had to close for the first time in March 2020 due to the pandemic. We reopened in August 2021 returning to our original venue at Malvern Cube Community Centre, Albert Road North, Malvern WR14 2YF We're now back to normal, opening every third Saturday in the month from 10.00 am to 1.00 pm and registrations have already surpassed pre-pandemic levels. In this more spacious venue, we have been able to ensure physical distancing for both volunteers and customers with one repairer per worktable. Our main concern is to ensure that customers are seen as quickly as possible and a one-way system creates a seamless flow between registration and the repair zone. We no longer have our own cafe but visitors and customers can enjoy a hot drink and slice of homemade cake in the Cube's comfortable in-house cafe.
Currently, we're operating with a smaller repair team of six or seven but hope to increase this number in the coming months. The front-of-house team provide a warm welcome to customers and visitors, helping with registration and explaining the new COVID-safe systems we have in place. Two of our sewing team are on hand to tackle any repair, not only to clothes and textiles but also soft furnishings, bed linen, handbags, luggage, soft toys, rucksacks, curtains and blinds.
Our sharpening service for knives, garden tools and other equipment is also available each month and remains very popular because this service is no longer available on our high streets.
At a monthly session, if an item is found to be either too time-consuming or needing further assessment, with the customer's consent it can be transferred to our 'deliver, repair, collect' service. This service was set up in March 2020 to 'Keep Repair Alive' in the Malvern area and was a huge success with almost 350 items being delivered to repairers' homes for fixing in their workshops. The team enjoyed the opportunity to keep using their skills during lockdown and having more space and time to concentrate on challenging repairs.
As always, no charge is made for any repair or advice given but we rely on customers' generous donations to cover all costs and keep the service free for all at the point of delivery. We have accumulated a range of tools and equipment over the years, many of which have been donated, but we also need to regularly purchase specialist tools and consumables.
In 2015, a Big Lottery 'Awards for All' grant enabled Repair Café Malvern Hills to establish the Repair Café Herefordshire and Worcestershire (RC H&W) network and facilitate the opening of several new Repair Cafés in the two counties. In July 2019 a second grant awarded by the Community Fund has enabled the establishment of Repair Cafe West Midlands. We are now in discussions with Malvern Hills District Council on the viability of introducing a mobile repair cafe to some of the smaller, outlying parishes in the District..
Details on the RC H&W and RCWM network Repair Cafés can be found in the Visit section. If you'd like further information on setting up a Repair Café in the West Midlands region, please complete the form on the Contact page or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have more questions please look at our FAQs or drop us an email. If you would like to get involved as a volunteer with the Repair Café please do get in touch.