Make Do and Mend

Changing mindsets can kindle people’s enthusiasm for a more sustainable society. Colin Messenger of the Twickenham Repair Café explains how repairing things can also be fun, and a great way to meet others too.

‘Men what do coffee’ – this was our WhatsApp group, set up in 2018, before the idea for the Repair Café even existed. At the time we were just six guys – Pat, Gavin, David, Cliff, Joe and myself – who knew each other from church. We were all working more from home and decided we needed a way to meet/chat/laugh every week. So our Men’s Breakfast Club was formed.

Our watershed moment came when our friend Peter, from West Sussex, mentioned the huge success of his area’s newly formed Lindfield Repair Café, where people bring along their broken items from home; a volunteer not only tries to repair the item but also shares their skills so people can do their own repairs in future. It’s true that many people have forgotten that they can actually repair things themselves, so vast amounts of stuff gets thrown away all the time. 

Reflecting on this, we thought that’s something we could do too. At our next coffee meeting on 9th December, 2021, we decided we were going to make it happen. We divvied up the roles and tasks. Our group had recently been renamed ‹Grandads what do coffee’ and we had mostly stopped working so we knew we had more time.o focus.

What we repair

We now have 25 wonderful repairers, who just love solving problems and fixing anything and everything. They have a huge range of skills and generously give their time and expertise. The café is on the third Saturday of each month and we’ve already had 100 repairs over two sessions. We’ve had a plethora of items ranging from: a Nespresso coffee machine, a sewing machine, a laptop, a silver teapot with broken leg, many bikes, teddy with holes in hat, a wind-up clock, sharpening for tools and knives; even a lightsaber – very difficult but we did it! (Visit our website and you can find out what we repaired for our local MP, Munira Wilson!) 

We are always on the lookout for repairers or volunteers to help at the events so contact us on:

Come and see us! The next is on 21st May, 10:30am-1pm.
Venue: St Margarets Church Hall, 130 St Margarets Road, Twickenham TW1 1RL.

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