You can basically bring anything you can carry that will not make a mess in the venue. Here are some suggestions:
Some torn clothing
A mechanical or electronic device, or a small electrical appliance - in some cases, we may be limited to fixing only battery-operated items, although we may be able to assess whether an electrical item is working (i.e., test whether it has a current)
Something that needs glueing
Broken furniture, kitchen items or tool
Whatever it is, it might not even be broken – just dirty, and you don’t know how to clean it without damaging it – or you can’t work out how to use it without the manual. With luck, someone will be able to help.
You can even bring several things – though to be fair, you will have to join the queue several times.
What Happens at a repair cafe event?
On arrival, all you'll be asked to complete a Registration Form. The house rules are printed on the reverse and it's important that you read and understand them and then sign the disclaimer before seeing a repairer. We ask that everyone accepts that all repairs are undertaken at their own risk. The Repair Cafe reserves the right to refuse any item if it is deemed to be in a dangerous condition and also cannot take responsibility for any item once it has left the premises. After registration, you're matched up with one of our volunteer repairers who will examine the item, diagnose the problem and offer advice before proceeding with the repair. In the case of an item being damaged or broken beyond repair, the repairer will discuss the options which may, if required, include guidance on its safe disposal. You can work with our volunteer fixers to do the repairs yourself (with their guidance) or have them tackle the job directly and see how it is done. The exchange of a good story with your repairer is always welcome!! With luck, you’ll walk away with a once-again useful item and some knowledge of how to repair other things and greater confidence to do it.
Our repair cafe sessions may get busy and, after the first half hour or so, a queue may form. If so, you may be given a ticket with a number and invited to wait in the café area. If you have multiple items, you may need to re-join the queue after the first one is looked at. We try and keep waiting times to a minimum but the café also provides the opportunity to sit and chat and meet others in your community.
When & where do repair cafe events happen?
As repair cafes are run by volunteers, they only happen occasionally. This year, we generally meet on a monthly basis - usually on a Sunday morning from 10am to 1pm. These repair sessions are at Yarraville Community Centre and have previously taken place elsewhere (including at cafes and community centres).
We may be able to take up an invitation to host repair cafe events - there needs to be power, tables and chairs, and ideally Internet access. As there’s inevitably quite a lot of waiting around, provision of refreshments is a very good idea – hence the ‘café’. We primarily carry out our sessions in Melbourne's inner west but are happy to consider traveling to other areas - whether we can do it will largely depend on the availability of our fixers, portability of their repair tools and proximity to public transport.
If you'd like to keep up to date on when the next repair cafe event is happening, then sign up to our mailing list (via the home page) or join our Facebook group.
do i need to book in advance?
We don't take bookings in advance but we do invite you to contact us if you're planning on bringing something that may require materials or parts. Otherwise, you can come along and get the item assessed and then return later or to a future repair cafe event after purchasing or sourcing the fixings you'll need. The best way to contact us is through our Contact page or on Facebook when we post the repair cafe event that you're planning on attending.
what do i pay for this service?
Repair Café doesn’t charge for repairs. It is offered in the spirit of the gift economy where we hope to share what we know and can do with our community. If the purchase of repair parts or materials is required, and they are available, you may be asked to pay for them.
Of course, donations to help cover other expenses, like operating costs and miscellaneous supplies, are always appreciated. We ususally have a donation jar at each repair cafe event that you can pop in a gold coin or something of the folding kind! ;) Oh, if you can tell a grand story while your repair is underway, that too would be gratefully received!!