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A Café with a difference - The Repair Café

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by Startacus Admin

repair cafeFed up with our throwaway culture? You’re not alone. At Startacus we long for the days of fixing and mending and repairing and whatnot. After all, old stuff made better can be much more interesting...which is why when we first heard about the Repair Café, we couldn’t possibly keep it to ourselves , we wanted you all to know about it too.

London’s very first Repair Café, was held back in July in Waterloo, and was declared a roaring success, according to The Goodlife Centre founder and host of the inaugural London event, Alison Winfield-Chislett.

Repair Café is a community project first developed in Holland, which encourages people to repair, reuse and recycle their possessions to reduce waste and reverse the rise of a disposable culture. Visitors to the first Repair Café at The Goodlife Centre actually came from all over London to bring their cherished items for some TLC and really entered into the spirit of Repair Café; Victoria was visiting from Italy and brought along a wallet to be fixed, Georgie’s bike had suffered a puncture and was quickly made good, Sue can entertain a full house now her dining chair is back in one piece, and young visitors Felix and Frank repaired their much loved toy box.

The Goodlife Centre is an independent learning space in Waterloo that offers daytime, evening and weekend courses in DIY, Upholstery, Decorating, Woodwork, Furniture Restoration and Crafts. Expert tutors Scott, David and Iona were on hand at Sunday’s Repair Café to advise and provide expertise, whilst Joan kept everyone fuelled with tea. A full arsenal of tools were available for use but in the end glues won the day as repair weapon of choice, because they are fast and have so many uses.

the good life centreFounder of The Goodlife Centre, Alison Winfield-Chislett knew, after reading about the Dutch Repair Café movement in The New York times earlier this year, that it was something she wanted to be involved with:
“The Goodlife Centre is about learning and sharing practical maintenance skills for life – we’re at the hard end of the make-do-and-mend culture. Repair Café is about creating a sustainable community, where everyone learns from one another other and reduces our long term dependency on consumerism. I think it’s a perfect cultural fit for the centre.”

In all, the types of items that were brought in for assessment and repair were varied but included wobbly chairs, wonky umbrellas and a toaster that was failing to live up to its name. Everyone that came managed to fix their stuff, make friends and have a great afternoon.

The next Repair Café will take place at The Goodlife Centre on Saturday 3rd November. The Goodlife Centre is just ten minutes from Waterloo, Borough and Southwark tube stations.
Go to The Goodlife Centre's website at to learn more about the upcoming event in December. For full details of the Repair Café concept that originated in Holland go to

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Published on: 26th August 2012

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