Getting stuff fixed with Repair Cafes

Repair Cafes have burst onto the community scene, tackling our throwaway culture, and now there is one right here in Oundle, organised by local environmental group, Transition Oundle, as part of their National Lottery funded Oundle Waste Less project.

Repair Cafés are community events that match people who need stuff fixed with people who like fixing things. The international repair café movement kicked off in Amsterdam, and has now grown to over a thousand worldwide, with more than 115 in Britain. They are completely non-commercial, and their aim is simply to encourage people to consider getting items repaired before throwing them out so as to reduce waste and extend a product’s use.
repair 1

“Do you have something that needs fixing? Perhaps a CD player, coffee machine, pair of jeans, favourite necklace, bicycle, much loved toy…don’t bin it – bring it along and we will do our best to fix it while you watch/help!” said Andrea Wood.

The Cafes are run by local volunteers who are skilled at repairing household goods. People can bring items such as bikes, clothing, electronic appliances and toys. Repairers will provide common tools like screws without charge, but if an item needs a spare part, it can be ordered and brought to the next café for repair.

At the most recent Café in November, forty-two people booked a slot to have items repaired, ranging from a food mixer, digital clock and bedside lamp to necklace clasps and new coat buttons.
While there are no guarantees, the repairers will give it their best effort, and are even keen to help teach people how to do a repair themselves.

The Repair Café has a booking system to allocate time slots with a suitable repairer; or one can wait with a cup of tea until a repairer becomes free.

Email the Repair Café organisers at with a short description of the item, and what is wrong with it.

Oundle’s Repair Cafes take place at Fletton House on Glapthorn Road. The next session is planned to coincide with a national day for Repair Cafes on February 15.

Zac Atkinson
December 5, 2019