Repair Cafe a big hit with fixers and those that can’t

First ever event on tiny budget brings experts to fix and teach folks how to fix household items in Kelowna at Repair Cafe

  • Nov. 22, 2014 5:00 p.m.

To say it was a big hit is a bit of an understatement.

The Central Okanagan Regional District’s first ever Repair Cafe brought hundreds of people together Saturday at Okanagan College as volunteers offered their repair services for free for anyone who wanted to bring in used items.

Read a full feature on how repairing an old brass lamp brought back memories for volunteer Al Stewart in this coming week’s Kelowna Capital News newspaper, out Wednesday and Friday.

Waste Reduction Facilitator Rae Stewart says the Repair Café movement started in the Netherlands in 2009, and this is the first one in our area.

The event is now over for the day but Stewart says they will likely have more in the future, based on the popularity of the inaugural event.

“The whole idea of this event is to prevent things from landing in the garbage unnecessarily–in a nutshell, don’t toss it, repair it,” said Stewart, adding that it’s more than reducing environmental impact.

“It’s also about reviving the whole culture of repair, to get people thinking well maybe I can use this thing again. It’s about changing our habits from a throw away to a fix it society. And a big part of it all is showing people they can actually repair things themselves, so empowerment is a big piece of the puzzle.”

The learning approach is key says Stewart.

“We’re not looking for you to just drop your stuff off and come back later when it’s all fixed up again. We’re encouraging you to sit with the person fixing, you can either do the whole thing yourself or assist with the repair, or just observe.”

Stewart says it’s the volunteer fixers that are the backbone of the Repair Café.

“Our fixers have skills in different areas- we have people that can fix small household appliances, some that do light mending and sewing, those that can work on bicycles, small furniture repair, ceramics. These wonderful volunteers don’t fix things for a living. This is something that they just enjoy doing and they like to show other people that they can do it as well.  Talk about community spirit!”

Stewart says it’s called Repair Café , so there’s coffee and baked goods, and you’re encouraged to just come and hang out and watch what’ s going on and meet other people.

“It’s a great community activity, and really promotes cohesion.” So, if you have something you‘re looking to have repaired, refurbished, revamped or renewed, you’re invited to join in on the Repair Café on Saturday.

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