The concept is quite simple: if you have a broken household item, bring it to Repair Café in Sandgate and skilled volunteers will help you fix it. Even if you don’t have anything that needs fixing, you can still head over to the café to assist with repairs or learn new skills. That’s on top of the cup of coffee or tea you can enjoy with other members of the community. In this ongoing process, the community lessens the waste going to landfill, whilst forging strong community ties.
In February 2020, a Repair Cafe in Sandgate will start offering a special kind service and is going to be a hive for skilled men and women to share their knowledge and skills in fixing broken household items.
Repair Cafe Sandgate is the first to be established in Brisbane through the efforts of Dan Martens. He opened a Facebook event to tap people who might be interested in opening the cafe, where they can enjoy coffee and food whilst repairing things for free.
Setting Up Repair Cafe in Sandgate
In October, Martes and a group of skilled fixers had a test run through an event held at the Sandgate Community Centre at 153 Rainbow Street. Some 30 participants gathered together to tinker items like electronics, toys, gardening tools, jewellery, crockery, clothing, ceramics and bicycles.
Another meet-up is currently in the works and tentatively set for the end of November. As this initiative is expected to be a regular activity, the initial participants believe that the community needed an actual Repair Cafe.
Martes’ efforts received support from the Sandbag Inc, a community-based organisation, and Illuma Electrical, a small business repair service in Sandgate. The group has also submitted a grant application in the hopes of receiving the Lord Mayor’s Community Fund to get their project off the ground.
Repair Cafe’s Objectives
Founded in Amsterdam by Martine Postma in the 18th of Oct 2019, Repair Cafe is a non-profit that has three goals:
a. To bring back repairing into local society
b. To maintain repair expertise and spread this knowledge
c. To promote social cohesion in the local community
Repair Café is not a service shop per se, especially since it will have limited storage space and the work is voluntary. Rather, Repair Cafe is a meeting place for locals who enjoy mending broken things. The initiative is also a way to reduce landfill waste, which has become a global problem.
If you’re adept at fixing broken items or would like to improve on the skill, you may volunteer to be one of the fixers. The membership is open to anyone.