Repair Cafe by Ilvy Njiokiktjien Creative Commons-CC BY-SA 3.0, httpscommons.wikimedia.orgwindex.phpcurid=24316530

What is a Repair Cafe? – Sustainable skills

Free, Making & DIY, Sustainability, Thrifty

What is a Repair Cafe?

A repair cafe is a free meeting place, where people can bring along broken possessions to be fixed by a group of local volunteers. The volunteers have experience in repairing all kinds of items from furniture, clothes and bikes to electrical goods.

Repair Cafe by Ilvy Njiokiktjien - CC BY-SA 3.0 - Regeneration Cafe sustainable skills fixing DIY mending Repairing

Learning how to repair brings communities together

Repair cafes encourage communities to reduce waste and save money by maintaining and repairing, rather than throwing stuff away and buying new.

Many repair cafe initiatives also encourage visitors to work side-by-side with the volunteers to learn how to repair their own possessions. The idea being that the visitor can fix it themselves next time and teach others to do the same, passing on the knowledge and the learning of basic repair jobs.

Repair cafes have lots of useful tools and materials provided and, as well as encouraging a sustainable and thrifty perspective, it is a great way for  communities to get together, over a cuppa, and strengthen bonds.

Why repair?

Lots of items are thrown away needlessly every day, these items are often easily repaired. Sometimes people don’t realise that the item could be repaired, or it may be that the knowledge of how to repair the item has been lost.

By RaMa2016 - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Repair Cafe Repairing sustainable thrifty

Save money – repair rather than replace

Learning how to repair an item yourself is not only a great way to save money and help the environment, but you also gain a real sense of achievement and self-esteem, as you apply a newly learned practical skill to fix your item.

When things are used for longer and are not thrown away, it reduces the amount of raw materials and resources needed to make new items. For example, harmful CO2 emissions are reduced and the energy that it would take to create, transport and sell a new product is saved.

As well as resident repair experts, lots of repair cafes also have books and leaflets available, which detail DIY repairs and tips.


A Repair Cafe in Cheltenham

This post has been inspired by the Regeneration Cafe which launches in Cheltenham on Saturday 7th March. Vision 21, University of Gloucestershire Product Design staff and students and the Gloucestershire Joint Waste Team are launching a monthly repair cafe in Cheltenham.

If you live in Cheltenham or nearby, why not pop along to support this fantastic initiative. Do you have something that needs fixing? Do you have skills or repair knowledge that might come in handy? Want to learn more about the project? Why not pop in, all are most welcome.

Launch Event:

The Regeneration Cafe – Saturday 7th May 2016 – 10am – 12.30pm
St Andrews URC, Montpellier Street, Cheltenham GL50 1SP.

For further details about this launch event:


Why not get in touch with your local council, or search on Google, to see if there is a repair cafe near you. If there isn’t one… you could start one!

Do you have details of your local repair cafe? Please feel free to share them in the comments section below


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grow your own zucchini courgette plant vegetables self-sufficient lifestyle thrifty sustainability

Why grow your own fruit and vegetables?

Cheap Food / on a Budget, Sustainability, Thrifty

thrifty sustainability affordable cheap food grow your own vegetables allotmentGrow your own

If you are looking for ways to save money and to live a more self-sufficient and sustainable lifestyle, why not grow your own food, it’s a great place to start.

Planting, nurturing, growing, picking, preparing and then eating your own food can be an incredibly fulfilling and rewarding experience.

Whether you are growing food in an allotment, community garden project, your home garden or even in your window box, there is a way for everyone to have a go and have a grow!

Saving Money

The price of food shopping is always increasing and growing your own food can help to cut food bills considerably.

As an example: You can buy a packet of courgette seeds for 70p and just one courgette plant can yield 10 courgettes or more! Compare that to a pack of 2 courgettes costing £1.30 in a supermarket and you can see how the savings will soon pile up.

grow your own zucchini courgette plant vegetables self sufficient lifestyle thrifty sustainability

Just one courgette plant can yield 10 courgettes or more!

You can save even more money buy bulk-buying packets of seeds online. Ebay has lots of these and you can often buy a set of 50 varied seed packets for about £10.

If money is tight you can also swap your extra fresh fruit and veg with neighbours for other items that you need.

Rather than buying an expensive gift, freshly picked fruit and veg makes an excellent present for a friend or relative. It’s a really thoughtful gift because you’ve put your time and energy into making it for them. You could make a fresh veg hamper or give a bag of fresh veg with a recipe for a soup that they can make with the vegetables.

Helping the environment

pesticides food production industry sustainability grow your own vegetables

Pesticides can pollute the soil and our rivers

If you grow your own food, you are helping the environment. You dramatically cut your food’s carbon footprint, by cutting down on the energy use, waste and emissions that the food industry production, refrigeration and transportation requires.

Your home-grown food will also not have used chemical fertilisers or pesticides which are harmful for local wildlife, such as bees and birds, and the environment. Pesticides used in growing food on a mass-scale can pollute the soil and as rain water drains through the soil and finds its way to streams an rivers, our waterways can become polluted and harm fish and river wildlife also.

Health Benefits

This new hobby can benefit your health also. You will discover a sense of wellbeing and connectedness to nature, as you work in harmony with your environment and enjoy fresh, seasonal, organic fruit and veg. Harvesting and preparing food that you’ve grown yourself, from scratch, can also give your self-esteem a really great boost.

By consuming your produce within a few hours of picking, you enjoy the full, fresh, nutritional benefit of that food. If it is freshly-picked the vitamin content of the food is at its highest. Eating lots of fresh fruit and veg can really help you to absorb all the vitamins and minerals that you need as part of a healthy balanced diet and that helps to strengthen your body’s immune system.

Of course, gardening is also great exercise! All that time out in the fresh air, moving around, getting your heart pumping, using your muscles and even boosting your mood with all that natural light and the feeling of vitality that comes from working up a sweat!

Anyone who has ever tasted a freshly-picked, home-grown, organic, ripe, plump and juicy tomato, bursting with flavour…will tell you that freshly picked food tastes so much better! So start enjoying your food even more by really tasting it. Food that is a joy to eat can make anyone smile.


When we work together and share the results, we build and strengthen a community.

veg gift basket grow your own vegetables self sufficient lifestyle thrifty sustainability

Share your home-grown veg with friends

As you grow your own food, you will find that sometimes you get a glut of a particular fruit or vegetable, as the weather and growing conditions have produced an abundance of growth. This is a fantastic opportunity to share your home-grown food with friends, family, neighbours and fellow food growers!

If you grow on an allotment, perhaps you can leave spare food near the gate with a sign saying – free, please take what you need. If you grow in your garden at home and have a glut, why not take your spare food to a neighbour or friends. You may even find that your friends, neighbours and fellow growers are inspired to do the same.

Talk to fellow food growers, share tips and success stories, share food and left over seeds. Not only might you make someone’s day, but you just might learn something and make a new friend too!

More articles about growing and preserving your own food coming soon.

Similar posts: Grow your own – Planting & Picking Calendar
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