Cambridgeshire Repair Cafes

What is a Repair Cafe?

Repair Cafes are community events that match people who need stuff fixed with people who like fixing things. The international Repair Cafe movement kicked off in Amsterdam and now there are nearly two thousand Cafes around the world, covering most continents. Visit the webpage of the original Repair Cafe Foundation to browse a map of all locations.

Repair Cafes are completely non-commercial. There are no promises and no guarantees, but if something can be saved the repairers will do everything they can. Repairers are always keen to teach visitors how to do the repair themselves and at the very least  watch while they do it. We organise occasional repair skillshares on introducing electrical repairs, upholstery, sewing, bike maintenance etc.

Cambridgeshire is blessed with a huge number of Cafes, with more starting up all the time. In fact, we are probably a global hub with more individual Cafes than anywhere else and in 2017 we set the record for organising the ‘World’s Biggest Repair Cafe’, since broken by groups in Devon. Local villages, towns, community groups, companies and parish council’s are being supported to start their own Repair Cafes with the help of the Cambridgeshire Repair Cafe Network (CRCN). CRCN is a partnership between Cambridge Carbon FootprintTransition CambridgeSouth Cambridgeshire District Council and trailblazers Chris Moller of Cottenham Repair Cafe and Chris Lee of Royston Repair Cafe. Our Cafes are brilliantly supported by Mackays and Draper Tools who have supplied us with extensive tools boxes and gear to ensure successful repair rates of around 65%.

Get in touch

Interested in running a Repair Cafe in your area or simply want to find out more? As well as advice by phone and email, those interested in organising a Repair Cafe can come along to our 'How to run a Repair Cafe in your Community' workshops (listed under the events pages on Circular Cambridge). Please get in touch, we're very happy to help anyone living or based in the Cambrigeshire area. Contact nicole@cambridgecarbonfootprint.org or cambridgerepaircafe@gmail.com.

FAQs

When and where do Repair Cafes happen?

Repair Cafes are run by volunteers and you’ll find at least two Cafes happening most months in the Cambridgeshire and Royston region. They usually happen at the weekend and are organised by green groups, charities, enthusiasts, community groups and parish councils. There is no charge for entry or repair but donations are gratefully received to help pay for costs such as room rental. You’ll find a friendly cafe at each event, serving hot drinks and delicious homemade cakes. Each Repair Cafe is listed locally and on the Circular Cambridge website.

What can I bring to the Repair Cafe?

You can basically bring anything you can carry that will not make a big mess in the venue (TV's and microwaves are exceptions). Here are some suggestions:

Small electrical or electronic appliances, bicycles, clothing in need of repair, toys, lamps, small pieces of furniture, mobile phones, laptops, printers, items that need glueing and jewellery that needs a clean/repair.

Whatever it is, bring it along. It might not even be broken – just dirty, and we can help you clean it. Don't understand the manual? We can help you with that too! You can even bring several things – though to be fair, you may have to join the queue several times!

Do I need to book in advance and what about spares?

Most, but not all, Repair Cafes in Cambridgeshire operate some sort of booking system, using a simple electronic form, Eventbrite or email. This means you get to tell the organisers what you're intending to bring, and the organisers can allocate you a timeslot with a suitable repairer.Waiting isn't totally eliminated as some repairs take longer than the allocated slot, Sometimes all the booking slots will be allocated ahead of the event in which case the organisers will let you know. You are welcome to turn up without booking. You can enjoy tea and cake and soak up the lovely atmosphere whilst you wait for a repairer to hopefully become free to see your item. Please note that booked items do take priority.

Repairers may have common low-cost items (e.g. screws, clips, batteries, fuses etc) in their Mackay’s toolkit which they may provide free of charge.  If you need something more substantial, the repairer will help you to identify the part, and suggest where you might be able to order it online – but it will then be up to you to fit it (or bring both to the next Repair Cafe!).

Thinking of becoming a repairer?

With 23 separate Repair Cafes running between one and four events  a year, and the network expanding by an average of five a year, we need LOTS of great repairers. We need electrical and electronic engineers, mechanical engineers, jewellery repairers, bike repairers, sewers, restorers of books/art/ceramics, carpenters and generalists.

Our case studies will give you an idea of who currently repairs. If you would like to join our wonderful movement and friendly team then please contact the individual Café organisers listed on the map or contact Nicole at Cambridge Carbon Footprint on 01223 301842 or email Transition Cambridge’s Kate at cambridgerepaircafe@gmail.com.

You’ll be invited to sit alongside an experienced Repair Café repairer and if all is good, then you’ll be ready to start.  You can join a Repairers Register that lets organisers around Cambridgeshire know the locations you’d prefer, when you might be available and what skills you’d like to share.

Upcoming Events

Cambridge Repair Café – we’re back!

Tue 3 Aug 2021,, 6:00pm – 8:00pm – It’s an incredible 16 months since we had our last Repair Café in the Community room at CB1! We’re delighted to be restarting with a small scale Repair Café at a familiar venue and at a slightly different day and time to our usual. The repairers will be taking pre-booked items only, so no drop-ins […]

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How to organise a Repair Café in your community

Mon 20 Sep 2021,, 7:30pm – 9:00pm – An online evening for anyone who has ever considered (either fleetingly or seriously!) running a Repair Cafe in their community. Cambridgeshire is recognised as a UK hub for Repair Cafes and we have a strong team that supports new groups and individuals who’d like to have a go. For details about local Cafes see our […]

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An extra special filmed Repair Cafe at Makespace

Wed 15 Sep 2021,, 5:00pm – 8:00pm – ITV is making a half-hour documentary featuring Cambridge Repair Café for their nationally broadcast ‘ITV Tonight’ documentary series. Please join us to see an experienced repairer with your broken items at the brilliant city centre community workshop, Makespace. The Repair Café will run as a regular event and the team making the programme will be […]

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    • Open Eco Homes
    • Open Eco Homes
    • Throughout September and October you'll have the incredible opportunity to see what local homeowners have done to make their homes more bespoke, comfortable, and energy efficient. You'll get the chance to ask for expert advice about the practicalities of such a life-changing project and be inspired to maybe fit a...
    • Mon 12 Sep 2022, - Tue 18 Oct 2022, 12:00am
    • Willingham Repair Cafe
    • Willingham Repair Cafe
    • Sustainable Willingham (part of WAG) are organising Willingham’s second repair café after their first successful event in May. The event will be taking place on 2nd October at Ploughman’s Hall. Doors open at 1pm and will finish at 4pm. We have some amazing repairers who will be joining us and have...
    • Sun 2 Oct 2022, 1:00pm - 4:00pm
    • Willingham
    • St Ives EcoAction's First Repair Cafe!
    • St Ives EcoAction's First Repair Cafe!
    • We are delighted that St Ives EcoAction will be hosting its first ever Repair Cafe on Sat 8th Oct, 1-4pm at the Methodist Church Hall. All are invited to bring along their broken items for an experienced repairer to mend for free (though there are no guarantees!). A Repair Cafe...
    • Sat 8 Oct 2022, 1:00pm - 4:00pm
    • St Ives
    • 'How to organise a Repair Cafe in your community' training session
    • 'How to organise a Repair Cafe in your community' training session
    • An online evening for anyone who has ever considered (either fleetingly or seriously!) running a Repair Cafe in their community. Cambridgeshire is recognised as a UK hub for Repair Cafes and we have a strong team to support new groups and individuals who'd like to have a go. For details...
    • Tue 11 Oct 2022, 7:00pm - 8:30pm
    • Repair Cafe to mark International Repair Day, 15th Oct 2022
    • Repair Cafe to mark International Repair Day, 15th Oct 2022
    • On Saturday 15th October we will be joining organisations across the globe to host a Repair Café in celebration of International Repair Day. Bookings are now open and our skilled volunteer repairers from the Cambridgeshire Repair Café Network and local technology company Sentec, a Xylem brand, are looking forward to...
    • Sat 15 Oct 2022, 12:00pm - 3:00pm
    • Chesterton
    • Soham Repair Cafe #5
    • Soham Repair Cafe #5
    • Soham Repair Cafe are delighted to be hosting another Repair Cafe in the Library. Further details to follow shortly.
    • Sun 16 Oct 2022, 10:00am - 2:00pm
    • Soham
    • The Grand Arcade's first Repair Cafe!
    • The Grand Arcade's first Repair Cafe!
    • We are delighted to be bringing a Repair Cafe to the Grand Arcade as part of Let’s Go Circular week and will be setting up a pop-up shop next-door to Raspberry Pi on the first floor of the Grand Arcade on Saturday 29th October. Experienced volunteer repairers from the Cambridgeshire...
    • Sat 29 Oct 2022, 1:00pm - 4:00pm
    • Thermal Imaging Training - online 1
    • Thermal Imaging Training - online 1
    • Join a 90 minute training session to learn how to use thermal imaging cameras and interpret their images. After the session, you’ll then be able to book a camera loan to reveal where your home is leaking heat, etc.
    • Wed 2 Nov 2022, 7:00pm - 8:30pm
    • Histon Swish
    • Histon Swish
    • The first Histon Swish was crazily popular, so now we're planning another for Sat 5th Nov at St Andrew's Centre, 12pm. Swishes, or clothes swap parties help you refresh your wardrobe without adding to your footprint. Bring women's, men's and children's clothes, shoes and accessories in good, clean condition. You...
    • Sat 5 Nov 2022, 12:00pm - 2:15pm
    • Histon
    • Burwell's First Repair Cafe!
    • Burwell's First Repair Cafe!
    • How exciting! Burwell is organising its very first Repair Cafe - further details to follow soon.
    • Sun 6 Nov 2022, 10:00am - 1:00pm
    • Fulbourn Repair Cafe
    • Fulbourn Repair Cafe
    • Fulbourn will be welcoming people to its next Repair Cafe on Sat 12th Nov, 2-5pm. Details to follow.  
    • Sat 12 Nov 2022, 2:00pm - 5:00pm
    • Fulbourn
    • Sawston Repair Cafe
    • Sawston Repair Cafe
    • 2G3S are bringing the Sawston Repair Cafe back to the Sawston Free Church on Sat 19th Nov, 2pm - 4:30pm. All welcome, further details to follow soon.
    • Sat 19 Nov 2022, 2:00pm - 4:30pm
    • Sawston
    • Swavesey Repair Cafe
    • Swavesey Repair Cafe
    • Swavesey will be holding their second Repair Cafe on Sat 3rd Dec, all are welcome. Details to follow nearer the time.
    • Sat 3 Dec 2022, 10:00am - 1:00pm
    • Swavesey
    • Thermal Imaging Training - online 2
    • Thermal Imaging Training - online 2
    • Join a 90 minute training session to learn how to use thermal imaging cameras and interpret their images. After the session, you’ll then be able to book a camera loan to reveal where your home is leaking heat, etc.
    • Mon 12 Dec 2022, 7:00pm - 8:30pm
    • Thermal Imaging Training - online 3
    • Thermal Imaging Training - online 3
    • Join a 90 minute training session to learn how to use thermal imaging cameras and interpret their images. After the session, you’ll then be able to book a camera loan to reveal where your home is leaking heat, etc.
    • Thu 19 Jan 2023, 7:00pm - 8:30pm

Local Repair Cafe locations

Click on the locations on the map for more details 

Repair Cafés further afield

There are Repair Cafés across the world. Head over to the Repair Café website to see all of the locations.

Why repair?

A staggering 44.7 million metric tonnes e-waste were generated globally in 2016. This is equal in weight to almost nine Great Pyramids of Giza or 4,500 Eiffel Towers!
Experts foresee a further 17% increase to 52.2 million metric tonnes by 2021, making it the fastest growing part of the world’s domestic waste stream.

UN Global E-Waste Monitor Report

Supporters

Thank you to everyone who helps to make Repair Cafés a reality.