The Cambridgeshire Repair Cafe Network hasn’t run an in person Repair Cafe since it’s last one with a CB1 housing association 6 March 2020! However, a recent survey of repairers revealed they’re keen to get back once it’s safe to do so, and there’s a constant stream of queries from the public wanting help. With things looking better and beginning to open back up, the Cambridgeshire Repair Cafe network should be springing up again, in some shape or form later this year.
Over the lockdown, as well as the supporting the Virtual Repair Cafe, repairers with IT skills have been busy helping local charity Cambridge Online refurbish unwanted laptops for schools, families and individuals with limited digital access. Some of the laptops are just too old and slow to be of much use, but the team have brought 20 – 30 back into useable condition by wiping the hard drives and installing Linux.
On the support from Cambs repairers, Andrew Entecott from Cambridge Online writes “Getting this technical support from Repair Cafe volunteers has been brilliant, helping us to get more digitally excluded people online – and it’s a great example of how groups of people have come together during the pandemic to form new and hopefully lasting partnerships to improve the lives of local communities.”
It’s quite time consuming (it took 11hrs to overwrite one of the hard drives!) so not something for a regular Repair Cafe, but the pandemic has forced the Cafes to address challenges in new ways and they aim to retain some of that flexibility moving forward.