The Repair Café Fairfield is a free community event, where expert volunteer fixers bring your broken items back to life.
As organizer Robert Cheng explains, the goal is to try “to keep things our of landfill and basically help people keep their favourite things.”
Repair Cafes are an internation movement. It all began in 2009, when dozens of residents brought damaged household goods to a theatre in Amsterdam. From that humble beginning, the Repair Café Foundation was launched in 2011, and there are now more than 27 countries offering Repair Cafes.
Cheng says “most common are toasters and lamps, but we get a variety of things. Radios, vaccuums, sometimes computers…anything you can think of!”
Although he points out, smiling, that there are some limitations to what can be brought to one of these events. “You can’t bring your car! We’ve had bicycles fixed, so, pretty much anything that you can physically bring in to the venue.”
Carrying the lamp which has now had its switch fixed, Alison Longacre was glad she dropped by.
“A friend of mine posted this on a Facebook page that I happened to see. I thought it was a great idea, and I live in the neighbourhood, and I had this lamp that I wasn’t sure if it was repairable or not, so I thought i’d just drop in and see if somebody could fix it for me.”
So how much does it cost to get your item fixed?
“Absolutely free” says Cheng. “It’s by donation, and the donations are used to cover the cost of the supplies and materials we need for the next event so we can keep this going.”
There are three Repair Cafe locations in Victoria: Saanich Commonwealth Place, the Central branch of the Greater Victoria Public Library, and the Fairfield Gonzales Community Place. Cheng hopes there can be a Repair Café held every month in Victoria, and being a volunteer organization, they’ll always welcome any fixers out there, who’d like to join the group. So what kind of skills does a “fixer” need?
“Just general skills” says Cheng. “Very common is with furniture-fixing, electronics, mechanical things, sewing and knitting, those are the common skills, the more popular skills, I should say.”
Click here to learn more about the Repair Café.