The village of Boothstown is host to just one of many Repair Cafés across the UK, an international movement encouraging people to “repair” their damaged goods “rather than replace” them.
Organiser Chris Blood has been running the Boothstown project since last October, and believes people must “change their mindset” for a more sustainable society.
The project, held at Boothstown Village Hall, invites visitors to bring in their broken items from home, where volunteer specialists will repair them for free.
Repairs range from rewiring a circuit board, to mending a simple hole in a jacket.
The first Repair Café was founded in 2009 by Martine Postma in Amsterdam. Since 2007, she had been striving for sustainability at a local level in numerous different ways.
Her main focus had always been to “decrease the amount of waste we produce as a society.” Since then, over 1,000 have been established worldwide, with Boothstown being one of 121 in the UK.
When Mr Blood started his own Repair Café, there were already two others close by. Despite being tempted to volunteer at another Repair Café, the opportunity was too glaring to dismiss:
In his blog, he says: “I decided to start my own Repair Café because the two others in Greater Manchester were not really convenient to access from Boothstown.
“We are not blessed with great public transport links. If I found them inconvenient when I drive, then how would people less mobile in the local community access them?”
“I also discovered that even though the Repair Café movement is growing and getting a lot of publicity, it is still relatively unknown.”
Community projects require funding, and as the café does not charge for its services, it must rely on grants and donations.
With environmental factors becoming ever-present in political discussion, Mr Blood believes prioritising the reuse of damaged goods is essential in the fight against climate change:
“If something goes to landfill, it’s a waste of natural resources. Even if it’s burned and incinerated, that generates carbon dioxide, so we’re trying to help the environment, reduce landfill and reduce the impact on the environment by reusing existing products,” he said.
“Although an older vacuum cleaner may not be as efficient as a modern one, the amount of carbon dioxide in manufacturing a modern one is far more than you’re actually using to get an old one repaired and carrying on using it.”