New repair café to get things fixed at Corfe Castle

The environmental group Sustainable Swanage is hoping to spread the message ‘Don’t end it, mend it’, as its third repair café takes place, this time at Sandy Hill Arts centre in Corfe Castle.

Repair cafés have been springing up all over the country, following the success of the BBC TV programme the Repair Shop and the increase in the number of people who wish to live more sustainably by mending things rather than throwing them away.

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Repair cafe in Swanage
Sustainable Swanage

Stitching it, rather than ditching it – repairers at work

“Early stages”

The event takes place on Saturday 16th July 2022 from 2 pm to 4 pm, with the emphasis, not just on getting an item repaired, but for people to pick up the skills to mend things themselves in the future.

There’s also an open invite to those who like fixing things to come along and find out if they could volunteer their skills, especially if they are good at electrical and mechanical repairs.

Sarah Spurling, Sustainable Swanage project officer and lead coordinator for the event, said:

“We are very much in the early stages of setting up an ongoing repair café but it’s an exciting prospect and one which is gathering momentum.

“We have based our project on the model that has been established in other places, but we just don’t have enough volunteers yet. These things take a long time to set up.”

Repair Cafe in Wareham
Sustainable Wareham

As well as sewing, it is hoped to attract repair experts from a range of fields

Repair Cafe in Wareham
Sustainable Wareham

The Swanage team has linked up with enthusiasts in Wareham

Links with other repair cafes

There are already well-established repair cafés in Dorchester, Weymouth and Bournemouth which have provided inspiration and the Swanage team have linked up with Wareham for support.

As well as repairs to clothes, repair cafés potentially give help with broken furniture, garden tools, bicycles and electrical items.

The first local event took place in April 2022 at the Catholic Church Hall in Swanage in conjunction with the Swanage WI. A second was held at Wareham Town Hall.

Repair cafe in Swanage
Sustainable Swanage
Repair cafe in Swanage
Sustainable Swanage

Repairs underway in Swanage

“Watch and see how it’s done”

The latest repair café at the Boilerhouse Gallery, part of the Sandy Hill Arts centre, will include refreshments from the resident caterers Sprout & Bean.

Sarah said:

“The idea of the event is that if people are interested, they can get the confidence to become a volunteer. It’s such a great venue because there’s already a range of people with lots of skills who are based there.

“With a repair café, people don’t just drop things off with the repairer – what we encourage is for them to watch and see how it is done.”

The Boilerhouse Gallery
Sandy Hill Arts

Sandy Hill Arts in Corfe Castle

“Lost the basic skills”

Sarah added:

“I think we have got out of the habit of repairing things and have lost the basic skills needed, like sewing. The whole ethos now is to just throw things away and buy something new and we want to change that.”

As well as the cafés, the group behind the project hope to set up a directory of people who have repair skills so that those needing help can find someone suitable in the neighbourhood.

Repair cafe in Swanage
Sustainable Swanage

A stitch in time – volunteers want to encourage people to mend things

Further information

  • More on how to get to Sandy Hill Arts centre at Sandy Hill Lane, Corfe Castle BH20 5JF is on the Boilerhouse Gallery website

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