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...... and much much more!
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 Repair Café start?
The first Repair Café opened in Amsterdam, Holland in 2009 and Repair Cafe International will be celebrating 10 hugely successful years of global growth in October 2019. There are now almost 2000 Repair Cafes worldwide in 35 countries. The highest increase last year was in France with only the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium hosting more. This doesn't take account of those Repair Cafés that open and don't ever feel the need to register with Repair Café International.
The number in UK has risen to over 100 and six of those are operating in Worcestershire; Malvern Hills, Worcester, Redditch, Bewdley, Evesham and Kidderminster. Although the majority of Repair Cafés are based in Europe, they are also opening further afield in countries such as South Africa, Egypt, Japan, Australia, and India - and more are opening every week as the message spreads!
If you want to find out more and the location of your nearest 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!
Approximately 50,000 people visit a Repair Café every month. There 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 and opens regularly on the third Saturday in each month from 10.00 am to 1.00 pm. The original team of six volunteer repairers has grown to more than 35 who bring a wide range of skills and expertise to each session. There are also dedicated teams involved in front-of-house to meet, greet and register customers and manage the café which has become an important and valued part of the Repair Café experience. A talented and creative sewing team tackle a variety of often intricate repairs not only to clothes and textiles but also soft furnishings, bed linen, handbags, luggage, soft toys, curtains, rucksacks, luggage and blinds.
A sharpening service for knives, garden tools and other equipment is also available each month and has proven to be extremely popular as this facility is no longer available on our high streets.
Since 2012, repairers have seen over 3500 customers and helped with approximately 5500 items for repair or sharpening. An average of 59 customers visit each month - although one month 80 customers were seen. We are proud that the repair success rate continues to be a consistent 80%.
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. We also use our funds to help other communities open their own Repair Café by providing financial support, resources and volunteer help to get them started.
Most sessions are very busy and we have introduced a new registration system to try and reduce queues. Visitors will also find a selection of the Saturday newspapers in the café so that should there be a wait to see a repairer, they can catch up on the latest news while enjoying a cup of tea or coffee and a slice of one of the delicious homemade cakes that are always on offer.
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. Over the next 12 months we shall be supporting interested community groups within the region to open at least five more Repair Cafes.
Details on the RC H&W 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.