Celebrating Earth Day with our second Abbey Repair Café

Abbey People worked in partnership with Cambridge Carbon Footprint to run our second Abbey Repair Café on Sunday 21st April and the East Barnwell Community Centre was transformed into a Repair Café buzzing with volunteers and items ready to be fixed. 

Repair Cafes help extend the life of everyday items that might otherwise be thrown away once broken. From hairdryers to electric drills, and jeans to backpacks, we had 55 items come through the door and our experienced volunteer repairers fixed over 46 of the items.   

“Broken lamp had repaired efficiently – amazing. Most importantly we were talked through the process and understand now a lot more about the mechanics and electronics – to have confidence to try a repair next time. Thank you! Given our lamp a new lease of life. Friendly café space too – met some new people and learned about other services for toddlers too in the community. Very positive experience.” Repair Café visitor  

These repairs helped members of the Abbey community save money in replacement costs which makes a real difference right now. There is also a huge positive environmental impact by extending the life of items. The repairs at the Abbey Repair Cafe prevented over 170 kg of waste and 1,151 kg CO2 emissions – that’s like growing 19 tree seedlings for 10 years!   

“I managed to get a walk-in spot to have a zip replaced on my coat. The lady fixed my coat and did a really nice repair. It is my only waterproof coat so is very good for me to have it functioning again. The lady was very nice and did a really good job. Very happy and have more things I would like to bring to the next repair café. Thanks everyone.” Repair Café visitor  

 “I have had a bike and photograph repaired and very happy. It has been great being able to get both repaired as I wasn’t able to prioritise them with the cost at the moment. Thank you :)” Repair Café visitor 

To celebrate Earth Day, we also had a pop-up Climate Café where people could upcycle old damaged books into hedgehogs and speak to Cambridge Carbon Footprint to learn about the Cambridge Climate Change Charter and what positive actions they can make to reduce carbon emission and help the planet.   

“Really friendly, helpful volunteers. Great organisation. Delicious tea and vegan cakes. The little vintage wooden toy I brought in was expertly mended by the wonderful volunteer Amabel. A great thing to have here.” Repair Café visitor 

Most importantly Repair Cafes bring people together. A total of 26 volunteers came together on Sunday, and this event could not have happened without each of them generously sharing their time, skills and expertise. It was fantastic to have so many new local repairers supporting the event as well!  

Please contact us at greenspaces@abbeypeople.org.uk if you would like to volunteer at our future Repair Cafes – we have a range of volunteer opportunities including trainee repairers, welcome desk volunteers, café hosts, and more.   

Our next Abbey Repair Café will be on Friday 5th July at the Museum of Technology 4-7pm, all the information will be added here 

You can also find more Repair Cafes across Cambridgeshire at https://cambridgecarbonfootprint.org/what-you-can-do/events/  

We would like to give special thanks to the National Lottery players for their support through the National Lottery Climate Action funding the River Cam CAN (Climate Action through Nature) project.  

This 2-year project is involving communities near the River Cam in working on solutions that will benefit them and help to make the city more sustainable and resilient. The main project location is the city’s most disadvantaged ward, Abbey. Communities will transform neglected areas including those around ecologically important chalk-streams, ancient willow trees along 10km of the Cam’s riverbanks, a community urban farm and a roadside verge outside a school. A series of community climate action events and activities are also being delivered, including more Repair Cafes and Climate Cafes.  

The main project partners are Cambridge Past, Present & Future, Abbey People, CoFarm, Cambridge City Council, Climate Outreach and Water Sensitive Cambridge but the project will work with a much wider range of organisations. 



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