Many fixers make light work at Redcliffe Repair Cafe

Published 6:00am 14 March 2024

Many fixers make light work at Redcliffe Repair Cafe
Words by Kylie Knight

A dedicated team of repairers is saving hundreds of household items and family heirlooms from landfill, through its monthly Repair Cafe at Redcliffe.

Founder and President Les Barkla started the Redcliffe Peninsula Repair Café in November 2020, joining a global network which now has more than 2800 repair cafes.

There are more than 100 in Australia and about 14 in South East Queensland.

They repair and maintain household items, giving treasured possessions more life – saving people money, reducing landfill and helping the environment.

The Repair Café is also a way to bring the community together, supporting a sustainability hub and circular economy model while fostering skills development and reducing landfill.

The Redcliffe group has a team of 25 repairers and volunteers, with an array of skills and life experience.

“We’ve got qualified electricians, skills from people of all walks of life who want to continue using their skills and helping the community. That’s a really important thing,” Les says.

Licensed electrician Roger is involved with five Repair Cafes, including the one at Redcliffe.

He says it is a great environment, with plenty of banter and knowledge-sharing among the team and with the public.

The Redcliffe Repair Café has held 26 workshops in three years, repairing 513 of 768 items and potentially diverting more than 2.4 tonnes of equipment from landfill.

The cafes are held at Redcliffe Uniting Church, Richens St, on the first Saturday of the month from 7.30am-noon.

Appointments are made for $5 (+booking fee) via the Try Booking link on the Repair Café Redcliffe Peninsula Facebook page. Donations to cover costs are also welcomed.

There are usually more than 40 appointments per month.

“We also provide a café environment for community to sit and discuss community matters over tea or coffee and cake,” Les says.

“The beauty of it is that we just love seeing the repairer and the person who’s brought the item in … the look on their face when it’s repaired. It’s priceless.

“A lot of these items are family heirlooms that have been sitting around, gathering dust for 20, 30 or 40 years.”

Les says they could not provide the service without the support of Express Recycling Clontarf and Redcliffe Markets, providing $1000 to cover rent and insurance, and Redcliffe Uniting Church for providing the venue.

To find out more and to book an appointment, visit the Repair Café Redcliffe Peninsula Facebook page.

What they repair

Items that can be carried in by members of the public including:

  • electrical items such as toasters, mix masters, lights and fittings, sewing machines
  • most electronic equipment
  • clocks
  • ceramics
  • bikes, prams, walkers
  • wooden toys, boards and chairs
  • non-precious beaded jewellery
  • clothes and more
Many fixers make light work at Redcliffe Repair Cafe
Many fixers make light work at Redcliffe Repair Cafe

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