County News: West Sussex’s first Repair Cafe to be launched

Horsham Repair Cafe
Horsham Repair Cafe

The first Repair Cafe in West Sussex will be opening next month.

What do you do with a broken toaster? Or a laptop which is on the go slow? Or with a ripped pair of trousers? Bin it? No, repair, remake, reuse and refresh, saving money and helping the planet.

Sussex Green Living, an environmental awareness and education community initiative, and Horsham Quakers are launching the Repair Café on October 7 at the Quaker Meeting House in Worthing Road.

It will take place on the first Saturday of every month 10am–12.30pm.

Volunteer repair experts and creative members of the community will be available to help make all possible repairs free of charge.

Tools and materials will also be on hand.

People visiting the Horsham Repair Café will bring along their broken items from home, clothes, laptops, PCs, toasters, lamps, hair dryers, and then with the assistance of a technical volunteer repairer they will learn how to mend the item.

The Horsham Repair Café will consist of a rotating theme of different repair café sessions starting with clothing repair, alterations and textile upcycling on Saturday October 7.

On November 4 laptops and computer can be brought for repairs and on 2nd December the repair café morphs into an energy café to look at how people can reduce their energy use at home and maybe switch to another energy provider to save money.

Then on February 3 the café focuses on woodwork repair and remaking. The themes repeat in 2018 with the addition of a small household goods electrical repair session on April 7.

The Repair Cafe project has been awarded a £1,000 start up fund, through the ‘Change the World in 20 ways’ grant from West Sussex company Green People. Green People are celebrating 20 years of manufacturing natural plant based organic beauty products with human and environmental health in mind.

Carrie Cort, the founder of Sussex Green Living, said: “Many local people have wanted a repair café in Horsham, so we thought long and hard how we could set one up. A dedicated team of Sussex Green Living volunteers have been running a special recycling scheme, diverting waste resources from landfill since early 2012”.

Carrie added: “Horsham Quakers have kindly provided a public drop off location for our scheme and for many years they have run a household cleaning product refill service on the first Saturday of every month. So this community led repair café seemed the natural progression”.

This initiative is supported by Horsham Men in Sheds, Kinder Tech and Groundwork.

By promoting repairs, the Horsham Repair Café wants to help reduce mountains of waste. This is absolutely necessary, according to Jill Shuker, a Sussex Green Living volunteer.

“We throw away piles of stuff in West Sussex. Even things which practically have nothing wrong with them, and which could easily be used again after a simple repair. Unfortunately, many people have forgotten that they can have things repaired. Repair Café wants to change all that.”

Helen Whittington, from Horsham Quakers, said: “We are really excited to be part of this project. Sustainability and Simplicity are key testimonies for Quakers. Our faith nudges us to take practical, grass-roots based action so this project feels like the perfect fit. I think many of us can feel powerless when considering the problems of global climate change and how to best use precious world resources. This venture empowers all of us to take those small actions which collectively can add up to big change. The key thing is bringing people together and I think our Quaker meeting house, already an established community base for many groups, is well placed to host this initiative. We will aim to provide a friendly Quaker welcome to everyone who drops in.”

Horsham Repair Cafe will be launching during national Quaker Week, which is an annual focus on Quaker worship and initiatives across the country. Horsham Quakers will be holding an open air silent worship on Wednesday October 4 in the Carfax from 12.30-1pm; all are welcome to take part. Further information about Quakers is available at www.quaker.org.uk and www.horshamquakers.org.uk.

Further information about the rotating repair and energy themes can be found on www.HorshamRepairCafe.org.uk.