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But can they fix a broken heart?
Adelaide Repair Cafe, Part of Adelaide Sustainability Centre at The Joinery
It's fifty years since American consumer advocate Ralph Nader railed against built-in obsolescence of products, and time has shown that his observations were correct. When almost anything in your home breaks now, it is nearly always cheaper to go out and buy a new replacement unit than to have it repaired. Often the replacement is more functional, but that isn't always true.
But what happens when something quite special breaks or fails? Perhaps a vase that belonged to your grandmother, a favourite coffee mug that was a special present, the bicycle that you use to get to work, or an old wireless radio breaks down? What can you do to fix these? Employing a specialist repair person or technician for repairs will often cost more than $100 an hour, and may simply be not possible on your budget.
Repairing a Chair at Adelaide Repair Cafe (Image: Diane Salvi)
Back in 2007, a Dutch woman was concerned about the problem of sustainably repairing things, and went on to found the world's first repair cafe in Amsterdam in 2009. It's not just about saving money, but repairing goods is also great for our environment too. There are less raw materials consumed, and less waste to worry about disposal.
Fast forward to 2018 and the Adelaide Sustainability Centre received $11,720 through the community grant program, Fund My Neighbourhood to set up a Repair Cafe at The Joinery on Franklin Street. The funds will be used for venue hire, promotion and to establish a tool library for the Adelaide City Repair Cafe.
The aim of the Adelaide Repair Cafe is to teach the community about the importance of adopting a sustainable lifestyle to reduce non-recyclable waste. It's a place where people can meet and repair items such as furniture, clothing, jewellery, and electrical items, with support from specialists, in a friendly, relaxed atmosphere. Volunteer repair experts will take the time to explain the repair process to every participant, helping them to learn new skills and understand the benefits of repairing and reusing.
Learn How to Repair a Broken Toy (Image: Diane Salvi)
The free Repair Cafe will operate bimonthly over the coming year at the Adelaide Sustainability Centre. What can be repaired will depend on the skill set of the volunteers, and will vary each month depending on who is available. Right now, there are volunteers registered with the following skill sets: IT/computer technician, darning/mending/clothing alterations, carpentry, jewellery, electrician, basic instrument repairs, lawnmowers, general fix it skills/jack-of-trades.
If you have a skill or trade and want to take part in this new free venture to help people and the planet, please do come along and get involved. The Adelaide Community Bicycle Workshop repairs bicycles every Saturday at the Joinery and will be available each time the Adelaide Repair Cafe operates.
Adelaide Community Bicycle Workshop Is Open Every Saturday
It's free to come to the Adelaide Repair Cafe, and no charge is made for repairs. However, donations are very welcome indeed to help the repair cafe to grow and provide new services. Children are welcome to come along with their parents, but there are no special activities for kids. Unfortunately The Depot Collective Cafe is not currently operating at The Joinery, but tea and coffee will be available at the repair cafe.
You can find the Adelaide Repair Cafe on Facebook and on the Adelaide Sustainability Centre website here. If you would like more details about the worldwide repair cafe movement, head over here.
Repair Jewellery For Yourself at Adelaide Repair Cafe
I'm intrigued to see how this fantastic community operated venture works. Will there be enough skilled repair volunteers? Will grateful people who have been helped join in? Why not wander down and take a look? You will find all the opening dates listed on the website and Facebook.
If you live south of Adelaide, keep your eyes peeled. A new free Unley Repair Cafe will be opening soon too, with similar ideas and opportunities!