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.
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: Another milestone in June 2020 we open the doors to the Share and Repair Shop in the centre of Bath. This has now become the new home for the re-located Library of Things. It's thrilling to see interest in what we do grow as passers-by drop in, we are now lending out more and more items. We hope to use the space for repairs and future workshops as lockdown eases.
Why not get involved?
We are delighted to see that community interest in sharing and repairing continues to grow, which means so do our plans.
At Share & Repair we will continue to work alongside communities in Bath and North East Somerset to help establish Repair Café projects. The Library of Things is expanding thanks to its relocation in the Share and Repair Shop, and we are working out ways to get our repair cafes up and running once more.
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.