Repair cafe

Saturday 16th March 2019

Didcot Civic Hall, Ladygrove Room

2pm - 5pm




For reports and pictures of our previous repair cafes, scroll to the bottom of the page!

At the Repair Cafe, we will try to fix broken household items in a collaborative and social way. We will have expert volunteer fixers on hand to work with you to support:

  • repairs of household electrical items (incl. computers)
  • advice with simple computer problems
  • gluing broken items/toys
  • mending clothes/up-cycling/fabric crafts
  • clocks, watches and mechanical items
  • jewellery
  • sharpening knives, tools, etc.

We're particularly interested in repairing electrical items as part of a large county wide project to tackle waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE). We will PAT test any electrical items to make sure they are safe. We have been supported through 2018 by a Councillor grant from South Oxfordshire District Council.

We will be serving tea, coffee and cakes throughout the afternoon to make it into a social occasion.

So, bring along your broken (or unwanted) electrical items, household items and clothes or blunt tools and we will try to help you repair them. Please don’t bring anything that you can’t carry (contact us if you are unsure!). You can also donate any unwanted electrical items for us, and we will test them and pass them on to a new home.

The idea is not to provide an anonymous fixing service, but help people learn what needed to be done so that they can gain knowledge from the experts. The items that we can fix will depend entirely on the expertise of our volunteer fixers.

You can find more details about the Repair Cafe concept, and the international network of repair cafes here.

The Facebook event for the January event was here.


Frequently Asked Questions:

Can you give more details of what exactly I can bring?

You can bring any small household electrical item (e.g. kettle, radio, hifi, lamp, etc.). Please don't bring white goods or anything you can't carry. You can also bring watches, clocks or mechanical items (e.g. gramophone, metronome etc.). We probably won't have spare parts if they are needed, but hopefully will be able to recommend what is needed.

We should be able to help with advice about simple computer problems (hardware, or software, or a tune-up), so bring your laptops etc. (or just come with a question for advice).

You can bring any broken item that needs gluing - e.g. china, plastic toys etc. We will have various kinds of glue such as araldite, super glue etc.

You can bring clothes or fabrics - we can help with buttons, simple patches, or up-cycling suggestions. We will have experts with sewing machines to help you.

You can bring tools or knives for sharpening.

Note: we cannot fix the following items: white goods, CRTs, any safety related item (smoke alarm etc.), or weapons of any kind.

It is also very difficult to fix iPads/mobiles, so better to take those to a professional.

If you are unsure, please contact us.


What about bicycles?

We're trying to organise more bike repair sessions in the future. If you are interested, and especially if you are interested in helping out, please contact us!

Will it cost anything?

No, there is no charge to enter or to fix anything (but we would be happy to receive a donation to cover costs if we manage to fix your item!)


Do I need to let you know in advance, or just turn up?

Feel free to drop in anytime, and our volunteers will help diagnose whats wrong and fix your items. If it gets busy, we may ask you to wait a short while until a fixer becomes free - tea, coffee and homemade cake will be available!


Will you definately be able to fix my item?

Our fixers are all volunteers and we can't guarantee to fix everything - some things may require spare parts, or be outside of our expertise (or just be too complicated to fix on the spot). In this case we will try to advise you what needs to be done, or suggest someone else to go to.


If my item is unfixable, can I leave it with you to be recycled?

If something really is unfixable, we would prefer if you took it back and recycled it yourself.


Can I drop off broken items that might be fixable, but that I don't want back?

Please check with us in advance before bringing something to donate (contact us) - we don't have any storage space!


Do I need to bring something to come along, or can I just come to see what its about?

Feel free to pop in for a chat and some cake, even if you don't have something for us to fix!


What about the existing repair shops in Didcot - are you trying to compete with them?

No, we're not trying to compete with professional repair shops - we would actually like to support them! We're aiming to fix small things and things that repair shops don't want to deal with. Let us know if you think theres a problem, and we'll try to take account of it. We won't have any spares, and we will direct you to one of the proffessional repair shops for more complicated fixes. We're trying to compile a list of the best places to take items for repair locally - let us know if there is someone to add to the list.


Can I help out?

If you have some skills that you'd like to share, then we'd love to hear from you! The Repair Cafe is about helping people fix things in a collaborative way and sharing skills. We're all volunteers, and we can always use some extra help - maybe thats helping fix things, or helping at the reception desk directing people to fixers, or perhaps making a cake and helping with refreshments. Or getting involved with planning and publicity. If you are interested, contact us via email, or on Facebook!


When will the next Repair Cafe be happening?

Starting in November, we will be running the Repair Cafe every 2 months on the 3rd Saturday of the month. The forthcoming dates are:

  • Saturday 19th January 2019
  • Saturday 16th March 2019
  • Saturday 18th May 2019

Are there other local Repair Cafes?

Yes!
There is a monthly Repair Cafe in Wantage at the Mix on the first Saturday of the month 10am-1pm.
There are also regular Repair Cafes in Wallingford and Cholsey, and quite a few in Oxford.
We're also starting a new one in Harwell village with the Church - its going to be on Saturday 16th February 2019.




Repair Cafe on 19th January 2019

We held the first repair cafe of 2019 on 19th January. We examined a whopping 186 kg of stuff (56 items), and managed to fix 71 kg of it. We had a number of difficult items which couldn't be fixed (e.g. DVD players), but gave advice in a lot of cases where spare parts might enable a fix. The overall success rate by weight was only 38%, but the overall total weight of fixed items was more than at our previous repair cafes!
  • Thanks to the 13 fixers, and 10 additional helpers hosting, recording items on the reception desk and looking after refreshments!
  • 56 items brought in and examined (186 kg in total)
  • Successful fixes totalled 71 kg (59 kg of those were electrical items), giving a sucess rate by weight of 38%
  • A further 23% had advice given, but couldn't be fixed on the day
The full list of successful fixes was: record player, jet washer, laptop, telephone, 2 clocks, watch, hedge trimmer, wood chipper, fibre optic christmas tree base, halogen floor lamp, electrical toys, iron, hair straighteners, tree lopper, 2 bags, coat, leather jerkin, phone case, a wardrobe of clothes fixes (shortening trousers, restitching seams, repairing holes ...) and knives and scissors were also sharpened.

Electrical repairers Tricky DVD player Sewing repairs


Our fifth repair cafe was held on 17th November

We looked at 49 items, and fixed around 30 of them - including a talking toy car and a wellington boot!
  • Thanks to the 14 fixers and 7 extra helpers who made it run smoothly on the day
  • We looked at a total of 49 items, weighing 99 kg in total
  • The fixing success rate by weight was 69% (63% only considering electrical items)
electric train Sewing



Our fourth repair cafe was held on 22nd September with the Broken Spoke Bike Co-op
A bit of a wet day, but a very successful repair cafe! Special thanks to the Broken Spoke Bike Co-op and the bicycle volunteers who looked at 12 peoples bicycles in the cold and wet outside! We recorded some more information about what we fixed than at the previous events, and so could calculate the following statistics:
  • 45 people brought stuff to fix (including people who brought bikes & tools), but the total attendance was more than that as some people came in a group.
  • There were 19 volunteers and fixers (including the Broken Spoke Co-op)
  • There were 55 items on the list in total (including things that were not possible to be fixed) + 18 tools sharpened + 12 bikes
  • 39 of those 55 items could be fixed, which gives a success rate by number of items of 71% (not including sharpening or bikes)
The total weight of all items was 85.1 kg, and the weight of all fixed items was 61.4 kg. So the success rate by weight was 72%.

Just looking at electrical items, the success rate by weight was 62%.

Funding for the bicycle repairs was provided by our grant from South Oxfordshire District Council.


Just for comparison, the Farnham Repair Cafe gets success rates of about 63% (http://peerproduction.net/issues/issue-12-makerspaces-and-institutions/practitioner-reflections/repair-cafes/), so our electrical rate matches well with that. The Circular Collective Repair Cafe held in Oxford on 18th August had a success rate of 70% across all categories, and 50 items in total, so very similar to ours.

 

Our third repair cafe was held on 10th June 2018 with the Broken Spoke Bike Co-op

It was another great success, with more than 60kg of stuff fixed, 30 tools sharpened, and something like 20 bikes fixed. We were able to offer bicycle repairs thanks to our grant from South Oxfordshire District Council and the fantastic Broken Spoke Bike Co-op!. We also sharpened tools the day before at the Didcot Allotment Society Broadway Allotments open day.



We held our second repair cafe on 28th April 2018:

 

We fixed things including lamps, laptops, soft toys, a blender, a hair drier, clocks and watches, and a rucksack that needed stitching back together. We also glued peoples broken items, including a statue of a bird with a broken beak brought along by the Mayor of Didcot. And we sharpened garden tools. In total, we fixed more than 41 kg of broken things, and sharpened 35 tools.

You can read all about it in the Didcot Herald


We held our first repair cafe on 17th February 2018 and it was a great success!

Here is a list of our successful fixes:

Large cuddly toy

Button on trousers

Tent pole

Vacum cleaner with dodgy on/off switch

Stereo

Spinning top toy

Air matress with puncture

Pepper mill

Mini sewing machine

Remote controlled car

Laptop

Watch

Bike lights

Laptop fan broken

Iron

Clock

Strimmer

Kettle

Laptop

Kettle

Sewing machine

Vacuum cleaner

Sheriffs badge on hat

Plastic bit of game needs gluing

Lamps

Shears, secateurs, knives, other garden implements sharpened

Here are some photos from the February event:







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