PRIDE in giving items a new lease of life, as well as friendly social connection and a desire to help the environment, has brought together people from all walks of life to form the Wangaratta Repair Café.
The group, which has been working together since spring 2017, is part of a larger international movement which has gained popularity in recent years and has seen the group hold regular repair sessions in the town.
Repair Cafés are community-run organisations where volunteers get together to help members of the public repair their small broken items in order to reduce wastage, keep items out of landfill and more.
Since beginning in Wangaratta, Repair Café members have helped repair a range of items, from antique clocks to punctured bicycle tyres, vacuum cleaners, wool garments and more, and in the process, have kept them out of landfill.
Committee member Richard Paschke said he loves to repair things and is also driven to keep rubbish out of landfill.
His passion for doing so goes back to his younger days living in Sydney, when he “couldn’t believe what was being thrown out,” and decided to repair things that he found and then sell them.
“The challenge is to find what’s wrong and then devise a plan on how to fix it,” HE SAID.
“I think it is important to keep things in circulation as long as possible before the articles are sent for recycling or landfill.”
Richard said he had a passion for just seeing how things work, especially older items.
“I like old mechanical stuff, it’s pretty amazing,” he said.
Richard said the idea has been well received in the area.
“It has been pretty good so far – people love the idea and support it,” he said.
“The Repair Café is a great event to be social, chat to people, and learn some new skills.”
Fellow member Luke Stone has been bringing his information technology experience to the table to help people at the Wangaratta Repair Café for several months now, and said he has a lifelong fascination with finding out how things work.
“I’ve always pulled everything apart to see how it works,” he laughed, adding that he loved to repair things.
Luke said he has worked on a number of items as part of the repair cafe, and has often brought along 3D printing technology which has helped him repair a number of items.
These have ranged from printing a new clip for a broken kitty litter tray, to replacement parts for TV remotes, just to name a few.
Fellow repair café member Gillian Anderson has been sewing since she was 16, doing everything from mending items to making her children’s clothes, and she is proud to lend her textile skills to help people get more life out of their clothing items.
While she has worked at several repair café events mending people’s fabric items, she can also often be found putting together Boomerang Bags as a sustainable alternative to single use grocery bags, and said she is very committed to the environment and a sustainable lifestyle.
“I love doing something different, that’s outside the square,” Gillian said.
Fellow sewing enthusiast Jacquie Coupe said she enjoys the group’s ethos of “making do and repairing” and said she has done everything from darn socks to fix people’s much loved jewellery as part of the Wangaratta Repair Café.
Upcoming Wangaratta Repair Café events are scheduled for 9am-12pm at 99-103 Murphy Street, Wangaratta on May 19, June 16 and July 21.
For further details, including details on how to lend your skills as a volunteer, go the website at wangrepaircafe.org or search for Wangaratta Repair Café on Facebook.
HAVE TOOLS, WILL FIX: Members of the Wangaratta Repair Café team (from left) Gillian Anderson, Luke Stone, Rohan Latimer and Richard Paschke.
HARD AT WORK: Luke Stone gets to grips with a repair job during a previous Repair Café session.