Part of a global network challenging our throwaway culture, the monthly event helps mend everything from clothes to computers
No sooner had we covered Grindsmith's ban on single-use plastic cups than supermarket Waitrose announced the same initiative, Revolution jumped on the straw-banning bandwagon and Nestlé announced its ambition to make 100% of its packaging recyclable by 2025.
Yes, plastic is no longer fantastic - but it’s not the only thing we’re targeting in our war on waste. From Real Junk Food turning surplus food into meals to Stitched Up’s campaign against fast fashion, it’s just one slice of a much bigger sustainability pie.
Stitched Up’s main offering is sewing and upcycling workshops, clothes swaps and sustainable fabric sales. But the grassroots collective also hosts Manchester’s only Repair Café.
This weekend (Saturday 14), that’s set to change, with the arrival of another in Levenshulme. Part of a global network founded by Martine Postma in Amsterdam back in 2014, Levy’s Repair Café will join around 1400 other branches worldwide.
In the worlds of the website: ‘Repair Cafés are free meeting places and they’re all about repairing things together…you’ll find tools and materials to help you make any repairs you need (for) clothes, furniture, electrical appliances, bicycles, crockery, toys etc. You’ll also find expert volunteers, with repair skills in all kinds of fields.’
Basically, repair cafes are places you can fix pretty much anything (well, within reason), from rickety tables to toys that need a little TLC.
Levy Repair Café will take place on Saturday 14 April from 10am-midday at Levenshulme Inspire
Electrical items are arguably the most popular, however, and every appliance counts. E-waste is expected to reach a staggering 50 million tonnes by the end of 2018, causing untold damage to the environment. In Britain alone, we throw away two million tonnes annually, with each household chucking an estimated £800 worth of appliances.
Half of these end up languishing in landfill, destined to an early demise - yet many could be restored to perfect working order, with just a smidge of technical knowledge. Unfortunately, 21st century consumerism encourages us to buy things, rather than fix them, and that’s where repair cafes come in.
Levenshulme local Jake Lloyd was inspired to set up a Repair Café due to his work at Arukah Network, which shares the shame principles of community and sustainability.
“I think there are three main benefits,” he tells us. “Environmental, social and economical. Some people want to save money, others want to meet new people.”
The latter is arguably just as important as Repair Cafes’ environmental benefits. According to Age UK, 1.2 million older people are chronically lonely in the UK - prompting initiatives like Cosy Club’s ‘free teas for OAPs’.
And it's not just the elderly, young people are experiencing a similar epidemic. Rotary International found that the highest percentage of lonely people in Manchester are between sixteen and 29, followed by those aged 30 to 44. Making community all the more important.
Levenshulme’s new monthly repair café is conveniently situated at Levenshulme Inspired, which has its own caff and was even featured on The One Show for its community efforts.
So, whether you’re looking to fix that ailing appliance, fancy lending a hand (they’re still looking for volunteers) or simply want a gander, fix yourself up a visit.