Finding someone and somewhere that will repair a broken item is a chore for many of us. Often, the easier option is to throw it into landfill and buy a new one.
It was the challenge of yet another broken kettle that prompted Bath resident Lorna Montgomery to look for a solution. Her search led her to the Repair Café Foundation. Its aims to help local repair volunteers use and share their skills for the benefit of their local community fitted well with her background in volunteer organisations and led to the creation of the Bath Repair Café.
The first café was in Bear Flat in April 2017. Since then, we have set up regular monthly cafés in Larkhall, Weston, Southdown and Peasedown St John with pop-ups in Foxhill and at the University of Bath. And we now have a central Bath location – the Share and Repair Shop – where we lend things to people and repair items.
Since it began, our volunteers have seen more than 1,200 items, fixing things like singing teddy bears, mobile phones, numerous toasters and kettles, and many dresses, skirts and jackets. Sentimental items such as model boats, weighing scales and old clocks have also been given a new lease of life.
From repairing to sharing: In November 2018, the Bath Repair Café opened a small ‘Library of Things’ at the Weston Hub. We also changed our name to Share & Repair in line with our expanded vision.
We become a charity: In April 2020, Share and Repair gained charitable status as a CIO (charitable incorporated organisation) no 1189015. This is a major milestone for us and means we are accountable and can now raise funds through grant making trusts and from Gift Aid.
We open a shop: In June 2020 we hit another major milestone when we opened the doors to the Share and Repair Shop in the centre of Bath. This is now the new home for the Library of Things and a place where we can run repair sessions. The response has been incredible. Interest in what we do is growing as passers-by drop in to check us out and we are now lending out more and more items.
Want to get involved?
We are delighted to see community interest in sharing and repairing continuing to grow, which means so do our plans.
At Share & Repair we continue to work alongside communities in Bath and North East Somerset to establish Repair Café projects. The Library of Things is expanding thanks to its relocation in the Share and Repair Shop, and our Repair Cafes are up and running once more – working in a slightly different way than pre-lockdown.
We’re always looking for ideas and people to expand and develop what we do, as well as volunteers. So if you’re interested in what we do, and have time, skills or just want to be part of Share & Repair, take a look at our latest vacancies, or simply get in touch for a chat. Feel free to call us on 07486 518197.