Swift Current’s Repair Café is a grassroots, volunteer group that is organizing an event where neighbours help neighbours learn how to repair.  

The first Repair Café began in Amsterdam in 2009. This initiative has now spread globally and there are more than 1,400 repair cafés worldwide. It was conceived of as a way to help people reduce waste.  Neighbors pool their skills and labor for a few hours to mend holey clothing and revive old coffee makers, broken lamps, vacuum cleaners and toasters.

In Canada, we throw away so many things that are contributing to our landfills.  It’s a shame, because the things we throw away are usually not very broken. There are more and more people with more and more things in the world, and we can’t keep handling things the way we do.  Helping people fix things was a practical way to prevent unnecessary waste.  The Repair Cafe is an effective way to raise awareness that discarded objects are indeed still of value. When you get people together to do something for the environment in this way, you raise consciousness and save your belongings.

The repair shops of olden days have all but vanished. Now, if something breaks, you take it back to the store and they say: ‘We’ll send it to the factory and it will cost you $100 just to check out the problem. Cheaper to buy a new one.”  

With planned obsolescence it has become the only choice — just throw it away and don’t think about it.

The value of the Repair Cafe is that people are going back into a relationship with the material things around them.  Swift Current’s Repair Café aims to build a more sustainable society and counter the throwaway mindset. The Repair Café supports the model of the sharing economy through building a community where people with repair skills are valued and organizations collaborate and innovate for the common good.

At the Repair Cafe, we will have fixers with expertise on repairing computers, electronics, small appliances, clothes, jewellry, book and paper repairs, toys, bikes, plants, among others.  And they can fix many other household items as well.  There is no limit but to reduce the waiting time during busy periods, a maximum of ONE broken item per person will be examined.  If it is busy, you can take a number and, while you’re waiting, have a friendly conversation with your neighbours. There will be a Do It Yourself section with some simple tools and materials so you can do your own minor repairs.

Your fixer will show you how to repair your item and work with you to get it fixed.  Or you can request advice and guidance and carry out the repair yourself.  He or she will help you learn basic skills by sharing his or her expertise and demonstrating how you can gradually repair broken items on your own.  

Swift Current’s very first Repair Cafe will take place on Saturday, October 26th at the Palliser Pavilion from 10am to 4pm.  There is no admission cost but donations are encouraged.  BRING ALL YOUR BROKEN STUFF PLEASE!

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