Happy Birthday to us! A year ago, we held our first repair event. After the event, we wondered if we had made a mistake in attempting to open a repair café in Glasgow. It didn’t go terribly wrong, but there weren’t as many participants as we’d hoped.
A year on and we are excited to say it wasn’t a mistake! Our crew of dedicated volunteers expresses to us how enjoyable their time has been, despite the frustrations of planned obsolescence, safety screws, poor quality manufacturing, and neglected maintenance. Our participants regularly feedback to us that what we are doing is very important, that despite its lack of a profit-making ethos it should continue and grow. The most common refrain is that participants have gained in confidence to attempt repairs of their household items themselves.
We have grown from 2 volunteers to 22, diverted nearly 1,000 kilograms of stuff from the landfill, collaborated with dozens of organisations, presented to school children about community repair, travelled to London on a community learning exchange to visit the Restart Project, spent and accounted for all of our budget for the year (phew!), held 20 repair events and 10 workshops, created a web page and social media presence, been featured in local and national media outlets, and the list goes on.
When I first heard about repair cafés I wanted to be part of one myself, but didn’t think I’d be a founder of what became Repair Café Glasgow. Months of planning and meeting with Jan Dyer, our co-founder and organiser of (among others) Repair Cafe Malvern Hills, began to seem like wasted effort as we wondered if it would ever take off. But here we are, and our intention is to keep going as long as the community continues to support community repair events. The next event it onsite at Bike for Good in Finnieston on 8 June, then we’re back at our home port of the Kinning Park Complex 29 June.
Perhaps you did not know, but the Kinning Park Complex is slated for renovation beginning October 2019, and we, along with all the other tenants, will be moving out. This means we are looking for a space to put on our events, so if you know of a space that has enough room and a kitchen in or near the G41 postcode, please get in touch ASAP. Ultimately, we would like to be one of several organisations occupying a high street retail space that will serve as our office, event space, and an actual café where people can come during working hours and learn about, and participate in, community repair. Again, if you know of such a space that is willing to work with us to keep costs down, please get in touch. We do have some plans in the works that we very much hope will come to fruition so keep an eye on our social media outlets for the latest news.