Portsmouth’s Repair Café is celebrating its first birthday tomorrow – and you can get your broken belongings fixed for free

A jumper is fixed up at Repair Caf Portsmouth
A jumper is fixed up at Repair Caf Portsmouth
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A WORKSHOP that invites people to make new friends and fix their broken belongings over a cup of coffee will celebrate its first birthday tomorrow. 

More than 500 items have been seen by volunteers at Repair Café Portsmouth since it was launched a year ago. 

Founder Clare Seek said 70 per cent of those have been successfully fixed – much to the delight of their owners. 

Andrew Williams, from Old Portsmouth, was taught to how to darn the holes in one of his jumpers. 

‘I brought a favourite jumper to one of the first sessions and was taught how to darn the holes,’ he said. 

‘I am winning the war of attrition against the moth in my chest of drawers – and I’ve started to mend the holes in the knees of my jeans.

‘Although the coffee and cake were a real treat, the most wonderful aspect of the cafe was the friendliness of all the volunteers and the others with beloved items needing repair.

‘At a time when we are all worrying about the climate and the future of the world, here is a way we can do something for the next generation. What’s not to love.’ 

Repair Café Portsmouth was inspired by a movement which began in the Netherlands that has now spread across the world, with a number of branches having popped up in in the UK. 

It sees visitors with broken items meet dab-handed volunteers with the respective skills to fix different things. 

Not only will they fix them, but visitors are also invited to learn how to remedy the woes themselves. 

Ming-Wu, co-founder of the Maker’s Guild at Portsmouth Guildhall, said Repair Café Portsmouth is great for people with a vested interest in the inner workings of the goods we can’t live without. 

‘As a product designer, Repair Café is probably the biggest experience gaining and researching different products' lifecycles,’ said Ming, who volunteers at the initiative. 

‘Understanding what parts break first, why it breaks and how to fix it, in turn provides valuable experience that will help with designing new products that can last a lot longer.’

Anyone with anything that needs fixing can take it to Repair Café Portsmouth at Buckland United Reformed Church tomorrow, between 10.30am and 1pm. 

The initiative meets in the same place, between those hours, on the third Saturday of every month.