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  • Jill Herron

Central's First Repair Cafe

Updated: Apr 14

A Repair Cafe is an event where volunteers gather to fix people's household items for free.

What a cracking good idea, we thought!

Last winter we started asking a few people around town would they give up their Saturday to come and fix bikes, balls, electronics, clothing, toys, wooden things and anything else that came through the doors at the Cromwell Sports Club.

The majority said yes they would so we were underway with Central Otago's first Repair Cafe


Above is Connect's then community facilitator George Affleck, Menz Shed volunteer Ray Purdue, Cromwell Youth Trust's Rhys Smith and volunteer sewer-extrodinaire Ruth Eely.


We opened the doors with six sewers, a bike fixer, Menz Shed handymen, electrician and a few other helpers. People trickled in slowly mostly with broken toys, sewing jobs and small appliances. Andrew Tall our sparky didn't get a lot of rest!

We could however, have fixed a lot more stuff and were a bit disappointed more people didn't come. As well as the concept being a new one, it happened to be the first fine Saturday of spring and many people were relishing being in their gardens and out and about.


Andrew Tall's fix-it table was popular...lamps, vacuums, hair straightners, even a cricket ball throwing-machine keep him busy.


We set up a kids corner with activities and students from Cromwell College served afternoon tea as a fundraiser for an upcoming eco-trip to Fiji(now postponed to 2021 due to the pandemic).

For a first-ever event it was a great sucess in getting the community together, all ages and stages, and preventing stuff going to landfill.

Next time we'd love to incorporate phone and computer fixing and will work on this.


Sandy Croft and Ruth Eely. Centre: Asher Know, Ben Deegan, at rear is Dennis Booth. Right:Olivia McKnight, Maddi Jones and Maia Mitchell.


Repair Cafes are increasingly becoming popular overseas with some open daily in large centres. This is a good website of you want to learn more and please get in touch if you'd like to run an event with our help.

Last word goes to those who wrote sticky notes on our wall about what they thought of Central Otago's first Repair Cafe...


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