Repair Café gets off to a flying start Print
Written by Steve Glennie-Smith   
Sunday, 02 February 2020 21:38

The first Ledbury Repair Café, held on Saturday 1st February in the Burgage Hall, was a great success.

Sixty items were brought in, with 38 successful repairs.  This resulted in 38 fewer items ending up in landfill.  Not everything can be repaired - eg. for any electrical item that was unsafe (verified by inspection and/or PAT testing) we have to recommend recycling instead.  Other items requiring spares only available from the manufacturer could not be repaired here (but if the spare was obtained, we could fit it in a future session).  But most problems were simple, eg. broken leads, loose fixings, corroded battery terminals, etc.

We do our best to fix anything from clothes to furniture, electrical appliances, crockery, toys and much more (but not bicycles - though this is a future project we aim to undertake in conjunction with Cycles Clements).  Please note: we cannot attempt repairs on items under guarantee - in such cases, your first contact should be the sales outlet from which it was purchased.

Organised by Sustainable Ledbury (Facebook page here), this will become a regular event, usually taking place in the Burgage Hall on the first Saturday of the month, from 10:00 to 13:00 (last entry 12:30).  Our primary aim is to prevent household goods from going into landfill.  We do, however, welcome a donation on your way out, to help keep it running - these will be used to pay for venue hire, insurance, buy specialist kit (rather than having to borrow PAT testers), etc.  About £300 was received from grateful 'customers' and sales of cakes, etc.

For more information, or to support Repair Café Ledbury, you can contact us on:
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Being an engineer myself has saved me a fortune over the years, so I was pleased to offer my services - and I think I must have drawn the long straw for the most interesting repair item - an HMV wind-up gramophone from the 1930s:

These were made by The Gramophone Company (later to become HMV) in Hayes, Middlesex - a stone's throw away from Heathrow Airport.

This motor was gummed up with dried out grease, which caused it to run erratically.  Note the speed governor in the foreground, which consists of 3 weights that fly outwards with increasing speed, moving the brake disc leftwards until it touches the leather brake pad.

How did the Repair Café begin?
The Repair Café is one of a number of environmental projects run by Sustainable Ledbury, a local group set up in 2019.  That summer, the word went around for volunteers to support it.  The response was fantastic, and we now have nearly fifty volunteers.  They have taken on all sort of roles, not just carrying out specialist repairs, but also front-of-house duties such as serving tea and coffee, and making home-made cakes.  Repair Cafés are very sociable gatherings and meeting people over a cuppa is a key part of the morning!

Have you had much support?
There are more than 1500 repair cafés worldwide.  Repair Café International is a large and supportive network.  Several repair cafés are based nearby, including Malvern, Newent, Bromyard, Leominster and Hereford.

We have been supported financially by The Repair Café West Midlands Network, while Ledbury Civic Society has been very supportive of Sustainable Ledbury.  There are further funding bids in progress to keep the café going, and we hope income from donations will help us acquire the tools and equipment we need for more complex repairs.