The Kingsbridge Repair Cafe, a community initiative launched by Kingsbridge Climate Action, is now officially open.

The cafe was opened on January 29th and is a project created by Kingsbridge Climate Action, to build community spirit and help save the environment.

The repair cafes are part of a national scheme that help people to fix their items in a group setting, saving money and time and helping people work together with other members of the community to reuse items.

Skilled volunteers, or ‘fixers’, are available at the cafe to assist with basic repairs for broken items, thus reducing waste and promoting a circular economy.

There are a wide array of skills available at the cafe, meaning lots of different items can be repaired, whether visitors to the cafe require sewing, furniture-fixing, or assistance with electricals. The project is being funded by South Hams District Council and is particularly important in the current climate, as many households struggle with the cost of living crisis.

Councillor Philip Cole, the Town Mayor, opened the event last sunday, where he had his favourite pair of socks ended by the team.

He said of the cafe: “This is a fantastic initiative which Kingsbridge Town Council most heartily supports. We applaud the ethos of recycle, re-use and repair. The first session was very successful and we wish the Repair Cafe all the best for the future.”

Rosa Hannaford, who is project lead for the Kingsbridge Repair Shop, said: “The joy of a project like this is that it does so many different things and has so many benefits. It’s brilliant for the environment as it helps reduce waste going to landfill and helps lower our carbon footprint. But It also helps the community come together around something really meaningful. We can connect with our neighbours and make new friends over tea and cake. We can learn new skills together and support each other to save money. We can see our possessions, as well as the skills that are needed to repair things, with a greater sense of appreciation. All this helps build connection and resilience as a community, as well as shifting mindsets around sustainability issues like waste and our throwaway culture.”

The project also empowers people to learn new skills, and benefit from learning how to fix their broken items themselves.

By repairing and upcycling products, it reduces the amount of non-biodegradable materials that are sent to landfill sites, which means the environmental impact is truly significant.

The repair cafe will be open on the last Sunday of every month at Age Concern on the town Square. As well as repairsing items, including electrical item repairs, they will offer PAT testing, knife and tool sharpening and much more.

Caroline Voaden, the Liberal Democrat candidate for Totnes, described the scheme as a “Fantastic initiative.” She said: “We need more repairing and less replacing with new.”

If you would like to learn more about the cafe, or are interested in getting involved, you can contact: [email protected]