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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    • '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 24 Jan 2023, 7:30pm - 9:00pm
    • St Ives Repair Cafe
    • St Ives Repair Cafe
    • The St Ives team will be holding their second Repair Cafe on Saturday 18th February. More details to follow. For bookings please contact stivesrepaircafe@gmail.com.
    • Sat 18 Feb 2023, 1:00pm - 4:00pm
    • St Ives
    • Abbey Repair Cafe
    • Abbey Repair Cafe
    • Abbey People are teaming up with Cambridge Carbon Footprint and the Cambridgeshire Repair Cafe Network to bring Abbey its very first Repair Cafe! Repair Cafes match people who have broken things with people who love to repair. Everyone is welcome to these free events, more details to follow soon.  
    • Sat 25 Feb 2023, 1:00pm - 4:00pm
    • Cambridge
    • Cottenham Repair Cafe
    • Cottenham Repair Cafe
    • The Cottenham Repair Cafe team will be back at the Cottenham Community Centre on Sat 11th March, 2023. More details to follow.
    • Sat 11 Mar 2023, 10:00am - 2:00pm
    • Cottenham
    • Whittlesford Repair Cafe
    • Whittlesford Repair Cafe
    • Whittlesford are hosting their second Repair Cafe, yay! Further details will be published nearer the time, including how to book your item in.
    • Sat 22 Apr 2023, 2:00pm - 4:30pm
    • Whittlesford
    • Burwell Repair Cafe
    • Burwell Repair Cafe
    • Great news...Burwell is hosting its second Repair Cafe! More details to follow, including how to book your items in, nearer the time.
    • Sat 10 Jun 2023, 2:00pm - 5:00pm
    • Burwell

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.