Big celebration for Repair Cafe

Published 10:00am 9 November 2022

Big celebration for Repair Cafe
Words by Ashleigh Howarth

Members from the Repair Cafe Redcliffe Peninsula gathered on Saturday morning for a special celebration to mark the group’s second anniversary.

The group was formed in November 2020 and is run by a team of dedicated volunteers with the aim of reducing the amount of waste that ends up in landfill.

Repair Cafe Coordinator Les Barkla said he was pleased to share the work the café does in supporting the community and the environment.

“From the 17 workshops we have held, we have repaired 62 per cent of the 372 items that have come in, meaning we have potentially diverted about 1.1 tonnes of items from landfill,” Les said.

“People have lots of things stored away in their cupboards at home gathering dust, so it’s nice to be able to repair them and give them a new life.

“We do get some really beautiful old items that have lasted a long time, and to see the look on people’s faces when we are able to fix these antique items, it’s priceless.

“That means the items can then continue to be passed down through the generations, which is amazing.”

Some of these items include century old clocks and even a vintage sewing machine.

The group also faces the task of repairing newer items, which Les said can’t always be fixed.

“We need to get industries to start producing quality items rather than rubbish that people need to replace every 12 months or two years after their warranties have expired,” Les explained.

“A lot of those items need to either go back to the manufacturer or be sent to one of their licenced repairers, which can be pretty expensive.

“We need items that are better built and last longer so we can keep these items from ending up in landfill.

“In a recent survey in Choice Magazine, 42 per cent of people couldn’t afford to get their items repaired, 29 per cent said they didn’t have the skills to repair the item themselves, and 28 per cent it was cheaper to replace the product.

“Also, 55 per sent said they have experienced difficulties with their purchase in the first 12 months, which is a real telling point in its productivity.”

More than 40 people were in attendance at the second anniversary celebrations on Saturday, including volunteers, repairers, community members and politicians.

“It was a really great day, and over the course of the morning we had 40 plus people there,” Les said.

“Moreton Bay Mayor Peter Flannery was there, and it was great to see him so interested in what the group was doing, as was Councillor Karl Winchester.

“We also had apologies from Councillor Sandra Ruck, Member for Redcliffe Yvette D’Ath and our Federal Member Luke Howarth.

“I am trying to get all levels of government involved in understanding the need for repairing items.”

Another special guest in attendance on the day was Professor Leanne Wiseman from Griffith University, who is a driving force behind the right to repair movement in Australia following the recent 2021 Productivity Commission Report.

See more photos about the Repair Cafe Redcliffe Peninsula in the gallery below. Photos by Tee Lovell from The Repair Cafe Redcliffe Peninsula committee.

Interesting facts

Speaking to Moreton Daily, Les said there are more than 2,200 repair cafes worldwide, and more than 100 in Australia.

“I would estimate across Australia, those repair clubs have potentially diverted more than 50 tonnes from landfill, and potentially repaired more than 10,000 items per annum,” Les said.

How it works

Repair cafes are free meeting places where people get together and repair broken items that are brought in by members of the community.

Each cafe is full of tools and materials to assist the repairers.

Items that can be repaired include clothing, furniture, electrical appliances, bicycles, crockery, appliances, toys and more.

Get involved 

The Repair Café Redcliffe Peninsula operates on the first Saturday of every month at the Redcliffe Clay Target Club – located at 267 Duffield Rd, Clontarf.

The group has a very strong association with the Bramble Bay Women’s Shed, who also operate out of the premises.

The Repair Café Redcliffe Peninsula have a booking system for people to bring in their items that need repairing.

They also welcome new volunteers and repairers.

For more information, you can follow them on Facebook and Instagram, or send an email to [email protected]

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