What is a Repair Café?
Repair Cafés are free meeting places and they’re all about repairing things together. Every second Sunday in a month from 2-4:30, Repair Café Kingston (est. Oct 2017) is held in the basement of the Kingston Unitarian Fellowship at 206 Concession St. You’ll find tools, materials and knowledgeable folks (“fixers”) to enable you to make repairs on many things – on clothes, furniture, electrical appliances, bicycles, crockery, furniture, electronics, toys, jewelry et cetera.
You’ll find expert volunteers, with repair skills in all kinds of fields. Visitors bring their broken items from home and in the Repair Café start making their repairs together with the specialists.
There is a child care area and free coffee and treats also!
It supports the City of Kingston’s efforts to be the most sustainable city in Canada.
Why Repair Café Kingston?
We throw away many items that often could get a new lease on life after a simple repair. Lack of knowledge, tools, or cost are factors. Some are unaware that items can be fixed. Society doesn’t always show appreciation for the people who still have this practical knowledge, now rarely used or never! We find they are keen to help & pass it on, but their skills need a place to be transmitted.
Repair Café Kingston changes all that!
People are getting involved again and valuable practical knowledge is being passed on. Things are being used and re-used for longer and not thrown away. Sustainability and empowerment!! -as well as reducing use of raw materials and energy, cutting CO2 emissions, avoiding landfills, and encouraging people to be green.
The Repair Café helps people to see their possessions in a new light, and to, once again, appreciate their value. It helps change people’s mindset – this is essential to kindle people’s enthusiasm for a sustainable society.
Most of all, the Repair Café Kingston shows how repairing things can be social, fun, and easy with help. Coffee, treats and a child friendly area is provided.
AND – it’s all free. People often are so happy they give voluntary donations which are used to buy more materials, tools and other things for the Café.
Who thought up the original idea?
The Repair Café, now international, was initiated October 2009 in Amsterdam West by Martine Postma. Since 2007, she worked for local sustainability as a journalist, publicist, local politician, entrepreneur, citizen, and consumer. Her special focus is to decrease the amount of waste we produce as a society.
After the first Café?
It was so successful that Martine Postma continued the endeavour. In 2010, she organized several tremendously successful Repair Café meetings at different locations in Amsterdam.
People and media all over the country loved it. She decided give the Repair Café a footing all over the Netherlands and beyond, leading to Repair Cafés being organized in many hundreds of places all over the world.
That number is growing daily!
The repairs at the Repair Café are free. Isn’t that unfair competition for professional repairers like seamstresses and bicycle repair shops?
For big items, people are encouraged to ask around Kingston and the volunteers to find local repair people. Small ones, if they can afford it, sure!
Often the first experience of having something fixed actually leads to improved business for local professional repairers!
The people visiting the Repair Cafés at the moment are not customers of professional repairers. They are now tossing out their broken bedside lamp, blender, lovely wing chair or coat because getting it repaired is more expensive than buying a new one or they have limited funds.
The Repair Café helps them avoid them doing without, or having to buy a new one. In that sense, we are not competing with professional repairers but rather with the manufacturer who wants you to throw away your old stuff and buy new ones.
Visitors of the Repair Café often learn that their items can be fixed more easily than they thought, and so the chance that they will bring their broken items to a professional repairer in the future will increase rather than decrease.
The thought that repairing items yourself is competition for professional repairers is not based on experiences of the past. If a professional can be found, they will try their best to do it economically, but due to high costs for them, they are struggling and disappearing. Just knowing that things can be fixed will lead to encouraging them as often, the new cost increases and the new quality decreases.
In a consumable society, the City of Kingston can stand out even more as green and sustainable with the Repair Café Kingston helping to make it possible.