How can we help?

We’re here to support groups in Cambridgeshire who want to start a Repair Cafe. We can help with admin resources, insurance, access to our register of experienced repairers and more. There are new groups popping up every month. We hope to support a Repair Cafe in every high street in Cambridgeshire and beyond!

Step 1:

Visit a Repair Cafe and say hello to the organisers and maybe even book an item in for repair. This is the best way to get a feel for what we do. If you’re just visiting, avoid the start – this is when people are just settling into their roles and it can be quite busy!

Step 2:

Sign up to our next “How to run a Repair Cafe in your community” training session. We usually run them quarterly. If there isn’t one listed on our events page, register your interest by emailing repairnetwork@cambridgecarbonfootprint.org.

Step 3:

Start to form a local team. You will need people to run the email and admin side of things, people to run the cafe and repairers. Please direct prospective repairers to our “Repair with us” page so that they can see what’s involved.

Step 4:

Think about a suitable venue. You can use our venue checklist to check whether it’s appropriate. Groups run Repair Cafes in all sorts of venues: community centres, retail units, scout huts, places of worship and more.

Meet the organisers

Chris Moller, founder of Cottenham Repair Cafe

Retirement for me meant that I finally had the opportunity to do what I wanted, and to do something really worthwhile. It’s frustrating (I would say wrong) that there are many activities that are really important and valuable, but for which it’s impossible to make a business case. Whilst I might argue that society should not rely on the goodwill of volunteers to get these things done, retirement is an opportunity to turn one’s back on the time-is-money paradigm, for the benefit of everyone and the future of the small planet we inhabit. As an engineer, I appreciate equipment that has been designed so well that it can be maintained indefinitely. The Victorians had this down to a fine art, but now we seem to have forgotten it, which I find shameful. Hi-tech equipment is now so complex and inscrutable, it was inevitable that shops that offer repair services would become unprofitable and disappear – the business case for repairing cannot be made.

Organising Repair Cafés in my local village was a logical response to this, and having now run sixteen, I have to say I have found it enormously rewarding. Judging by their popularity, the community seems to agree with me!

Claire Mackenzie, founder of Barrington Repair Cafe

Since being a student I have been a passionate environmentalist and in London 10 years ago I became a member of Transition Ealing. I am a mum of 3 boys, 14, 12 and 6 and am very worried about their world. Transition gave me a place to be part of positive, sustainable, community and family friend events such as reskilling and gardening.

When I came to Cambridge I contacted Cambridge Carbon Footprint and Transition Cambridge and volunteered at a couple of Repair Cafés and ran a Swish. They had the same atmosphere as the Transition events in Ealing. With the encouragement and guidance of Nicole and Kate I then went on to organise a Repair Café in Barrington village hall in 2019, and have now held 2 of them.

I have organised them around my family, the children’s schools, which I volunteer at, and my work as a Bowen Technique therapist.

At present, I have only had the capacity to organise the Repair Cafés once a year but as a result of the Repair Café last year, myself and other parents form the primary school have formed the Barrington and Beyond Eco Group. We are building a group so hope to do more Repair Cafés, especially as double the number of people attended this year.

At present all of us in the eco group are parents at Barrington Primary and part of our work is running the Eco Ministry at the primary school. This benefits the Repair Cafés as 80% of the volunteers at the Repair Café are parents or grandparents from school – repairers and organisers. The school helps us with marketing and enlarging local people to attend. This year we also included a Vintage clothes stall, again it is run by a local Barrington neighbour.

We have used the Repair Cafés as a good way to communicate with the local community in regard to other eco projects we have in mind, such as Energy and gardening. Those who attend enjoy the social and community atmosphere meeting people outside of their social groups. They are excellent spring board events for future events. We look forward to organising more!

Councillor Greg Thompson, Cambourne Repair Café

I first came across the concept of Repair Cafés whilst searching online for information about give and take events. It struck me as a great idea and I did some further research in my local area which led me to discover Cambridge Carbon Footprint, Cambridgeshire Repair Café Network and the activity that was already occurring in the Cambridgeshire area. From that point, with the invaluable help of CCF and CRCN, I decided to organise a café in Cambourne and we held a successful first event in December 2019. At our first café, a music box that had not been heard for about 40 years was fixed and it was great to see our brilliant volunteer repairers work together to fix a large ride on toy car. The event was very well received by the local community.

I became a town councillor after becoming involved in community volunteering through litter picking, organised by the council. I wanted to focus on initiatives that highlight and help mitigate environmental issues. We have a vibrant volunteering community in Cambourne, supported by the town council, and have initiatives such as graffiti clearance, group litter picks and community actions days. We have recently installed accessible water coolers in the town council office and community hub, to encourage use of reusable water bottles and to eliminate single use plastic cups. We are also looking at Terracycle initiatives such as crips packet recycling and other initiatives to help reduce single use plastic. I am looking forward to our next Repair Café and making this is an established event within our local community.

Supporters

Thank you to our sponsors who support the vibrant community repair movement in Cambridgeshire