If it's broken...take it to the new free repair cafe

By Anna Slater

If it's broken...take it to the new free repair cafe

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MORE than 200 people took their old and broken items to be repaired, mended and stitched at a cafe.

The new Leytonstone Repair Café opened its doors for the first time last Saturday and saw people get their electrical items, clothes and bikes fixed for free by trained professionals.

They came armed with smartphones, baby monitors and microwaves and were able to enjoy tea and cake from the church's cafe while they waited.

The Repair Café forms part of Waltham Forest Council’s efforts to get more people repairing and re-using the things they already own instead of throwing them away.

Councillor Clyde Loakes, deputy leader and cabinet member for environment, said: ‘‘I’m glad the Repair Café was so well attended during its first session and that so many local residents came down to the event to learn how to repair and re-use their household items’.

‘‘Hopefully we can build on this success and get as many residents as possible attending these sessions throughout the year. The scheme is still in its pilot stage and it would be great if we could generate enough interest to roll it out across the borough permanently.’’

Residents were also able to take part in a workshop organised by textiles recycling charity TRAID. During the workshop residents learned basic textile and sewing repairs and over 80 per cent of those that took part stated they had learned new skills.

Sarah Klymkiw, head of education at Traid, said 'Leytonstone’s Repair Café launched with a hugely successful event to empower local people to extend the life of their clothes and other goods.

‘‘We’re excited to offer Waltham Forest’s residents a regular antidote to our throwaway culture which creates huge volumes of waste and uses up our precious natural resources. Simply bring along a garment you would like to fix, and the TRAID team will guide your repair while indulging you in good cake and conversation.”

Reverend David Britton, Vicar at St Johns the Baptist Church, added "The first Repair Cafe at St Johns was a fantastic event and a great success. We had a large number of people come bringing with them a whole range of items needing fixing that previously might have been thrown out. This is a great initiative to help tackle the growing problem of waste and our 'throw away' culture. We look forward to hosting many more!"

The Repair Café takes place on every third Saturday of the month from 11am until 2pm at the St John the Baptist Church. It is being organised by Waltham Forest Council alongside The Restart Project, Traid, Shed Homewares and Dr Bike and upcoming dates for the Repair Café are on May 20, June 17, July 15, September 16 and October 21.

For more information please email mcdu@walthamforest.gov.uk or visit www.walthamforest.gov.uk/repaircafe