St Andrews celebrates opening of first community repair cafe

Thursday 18 January 2024
Pictured (from left) are event organisers Sonja Potjewijd, Alexander Clark and Anya Hart Dyke of Transition University of St Andrews

The first-ever St Andrews Repair and Advice Café, which launched this week, was a huge success with those needing items fixed queuing up at the door.

Made possible with funding from the University of St Andrews Community Fund, the café will run on the second or third Wednesday of each month and is open to students, staff and the wider St Andrews and North East Fife community.

Run by Transition University St Andrews, the café supports the University’s ambition to help make St Andrews a more sustainable community and meet ambitious net zero targets by 2035.

This week’s event saw nearly 30 volunteer repairers attend – ten local residents, eight students and nine members of University staff. Items being fixed included watches, clocks, shoes, a sleeping bag, a vase, a wheelchair tyre, a holey jumper, solar lights, a handbag strap, a lamp, a food mixer, and a combination lock box.

Skillshare Coordinator and Project Officer, Anya Hart Dyke, said: “We are so pleased to have had such a great turn out on our first night. Part of the international Repair Café movement, the monthly Repair and Advice Café will host volunteers offering free repairs for a range of items including electricals, clocks, clothes and more. And, in the spirit of skill sharing – a key component of a resilient and sustainable community – there will also be opportunities to learn how to make basic repairs yourself.

“In addition, the café offers an advisory service to raise awareness about what is and isn’t fixable and how to look after what we own, to minimise the risk of items breaking and falling apart.”

The event also included advice on bike repairs and a cobbler advising on repairing footwear, as well as information from an air source heat pump specialist. Future cafés will look at damaged mobile phones and the benefits of refurbished devices, musical instruments and more.

Anya added: “The café will rotate locations so it’s also a chance to peek inside places you may not have been into before and to see more of your local town. You can also register to receive an email reminder about what the Repair and Advice Café will offer each month.”

The University’s Community Engagement and Social Responsibility Manager, Lesley Caldwell, who runs the University Community Fund, said: “We are pleased to provide funding to help get this important project off the ground. Repairing and recycling items and giving people the skills to fix things themselves is key to every one of us living more sustainably and reducing household costs where we can. This will also be a resource that the whole community can benefit from.”

The St Andrews Repair and Advice Café will complement the work of the already established Dairsie Repair Café, which meets on the last Wednesday of each month.

Issued by the University of St Andrews Communications Office.

Category Community

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