An event that is inspiring many people around the world to repair rather than throw away broken items is making its way to Victoria this week.
Repair cafes are free meeting places that encourage people to bring their broken items and have them fixed, or teach people how to fix things instead of throwing them into the landfill. It’s an idea that originated with Martine Postma in 2007, who organized the very first Repair Cafe in Amsterdam to great success.
Since then, the idea has spread around the world with repair cafes in Belgium, Germany, France, the U.S., and Canada. There are various cafes locally in Victoria at the Greater Victoria Public Library’s Central Branch and in View Royal at the community hall.
Fairfield can now be added to the growing list of repair cafes in the region, as the Fairfield Gonzales Community Association is hosting its inaugural event Saturday, Aug. 13.
Residents are encouraged to bring items that require minor repairs, such as small appliances (toasters, irons, lamps that require simple electrical rewiring), clothing or bicycles. There will also be people who know how to fix hearing aids or glue items back together.
“It brings together people who know how to fix things, which is becoming a lost art, and people who need things fixed — people who don’t want to throw things away, but don’t know what else to do with it,” said event coordinator Susanna Grimes, adding people who need things fixed sometimes walk away inspired to learn how to fix things themselves as well.
“Often it ends up in the garbage, and that’s such a waste, when really it could be a minor repair that could take 10 or 15 minutes.”
Grimes first heard about repair cafes by word of mouth and decided to attend one in Victoria. She even became a fixer herself at one of the events.
According to Grimes, Fairfield was the perfect neighbourhood to launch the event because residents are motivated to reduce their environmental footprint.
“When you walk around Fairfield, all over the boulevards, people leave things for others to take, things that are in very good condition or need minor repairs. That tells me that people that live in Fairfield want to pass on things, rather than throwing them away,” she said. “If each person does their own part in some small way, it really does add up.”
The Fairfield Repair Cafe takes place at the Fairfield Gonzales Community Association’s hall (1330 Fairfield Rd.) from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. For more information visit fairfieldcommunity.ca.