First Buxton repair café helps to reduce waste and share new skills

Transition Buxton's first Repair Caf� received a very positive response from residents in September, with dozens of items brought in and repaired by a team of 'fixperts'.
Transition Buxton's first Repair Caf� received a very positive response from residents in September, with dozens of items brought in and repaired by a team of 'fixperts'.

Buxton’s Repair Café enjoyed a spectacularly successful launch last month, opening up a new front in Transition Buxton’s efforts to turn the town green.

The Repair Café movement began in Amsterdam ten years ago this week, and Buxton is now part of a network of 1,500 worldwide, aiming to save household goods from landfill and give people the skills to carry out their own repairs.

Transition Buxton's team of 'fixperts' will turn their hand to variety of electrical goods, clothing and jewellery, ornaments, kitchenware and even bicycles.

Transition Buxton's team of 'fixperts' will turn their hand to variety of electrical goods, clothing and jewellery, ornaments, kitchenware and even bicycles.

At the Methodist Church on Saturday, September 28, residents brought 38 items through the door over four hours, and 21 were restored to working order.

Jean Ball, who led efforts to set up the café, said: “Everyone went away happy. Even those whose items couldn’t be repaired enjoyed the atmosphere. Someone said it was the best theatre they’d seen in months.

“My favourite reaction was the beaming smile on the face of the lad whose pair of robot toys were brought back to battle readiness.”

Other items examined by the volunteer team of ‘fixperts’ included a shopping trolley, umbrella, radios, a CD player, toys, toasters, vacuum cleaners, a lamp, a shaver, ceramics and clothing.

There is no charge for repairs, but visitors are encouraged to make donations to help cover the project’s costs.

Jean said: “Our goal is to save the equivalent of a container full of stuff from going to waste or landfill in a year.

“Everyone’s been to the Waterswallows recycling centre and seen mountains of appliances and electronics which just shouldn’t go to waste.”

She added: “It’s not just things with plugs though. It’s really anything you can carry in with you. We have someone who is an expert in bicycles, and we’re looking for more volunteers all the time.

“One lady came in to ask about darning, and was thrilled when our textiles volunteers gave her a lesson.

“Someone else came in saying they had a sewing machine they don’t know how to use, and they’ve been invited back next month for a tutorial.”

The café will be held on the fourth Saturday of every month, next on October 26.

For more details on volunteering and other enquiries, send an email to repaircafe@transitionbuxton.co.uk.

Transition Buxton is also currently working on a campaign to become the first community in Derbyshire to achieve Plastic Free Community status.

The group is working with a toolkit from the environmental charity Surfers Against Sewage to engage businesses, councils, and big institutions in plans to eliminate single-use plastics.

Derek Bodey, who is leading the project, said: “It’s important to stress that we’re not saying plastic is an evil substance, but the way we’re using it in many cases isn’t very good.

“This is a whole community effort, and we’ve had a very positive response from High Peak Borough Council, schools, the university, and the Vision Buxton group, who are currently undertaking a survey of members to gauge responses.

“There are various initiatives and events which we have to undertake to qualify but we’ve made a good start already.”

For more information, visit transitionbuxton.co.uk.