11 September 2020

Eurobodalla Repair Cafe combats throwaway thinking

| Alex Rea
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Brett Stevenson repairing musical instruments at Eurobodalla Repair Cafe.

Volunteer Brett Stevenson (right) repairing musical instruments at Eurobodalla Repair Cafe. Photo: Supplied.

We live in a society of cheaply produced products that are not intended to last. Council tips and garage sales are stacked with partly broken, torn, out of order or simply unfashionable items that could have more life in them.

Proactive group South Coast Health and Sustainability Alliance (SHASA) has launched the Eurobodalla Repair Cafe in Moruya to combat this wasteful mentality and provide a venue for repairing all manner of things.

From left: Linda Chapman, Anthony Mayne, Kathryn Maxwell, Fiona Phillips, at Eurobodalla Repair Cafe.

From left: Linda Chapman, rector of St John’s Anglican Church in Moruya; Anthony Mayne, Eurobodalla Shire Councillor; Kathryn Maxwell, SHASA president; and Fiona Phillips, Member for Gilmore. Photo: Alex Rea.

The cafe was launched last week by Linda Chapman, rector of St John’s Anglican Church in Moruya; Eurobodalla Shire Councillor Anthony Mayne; and Member for Gilmore Fiona Phillips.

A team of volunteers ensures visitors to the cafe are guided through the processes and have their items assessed. In many cases they are repaired on the spot, including clothes and electrical items.

Some other items are taken back to home workshops for repair and returned fully functional to their owners at the next Repair Cafe meeting, which is held every Friday at Red Door Hall, St John’s Anglican Parish, Moruya.

SHASA president Kathryn Maxwell noted myriad of benefits of the Repair Cafe including helping to make goods last longer; giving new life to treasured items; reducing landfill waste; having fun; and establishing social and business connections.

While baby boomers’ parents were ingrained with saving and repairing from their time growing up during the Great Depression in the 1930s, their kids have grown up in a society of cheap imports and throwaways. The option to repair may not get a second thought before items are tossed away.

Member for Gilmore Fiona Phillips with volunteer dressmaker Jo Fafie.

Member for Gilmore Fiona Phillips (left) with volunteer dressmaker Jo Fafie. Photo: Alex Rea.

Members of the local community are invited to bring household items which need to be repaired such as small electrical goods, clothing and furniture.

“The Repair Cafe assists in seeing our possessions in a new light and appreciating their value,” said Repair Cafe and SHASA volunteer Valerie Faber. “By repairing household items, we extend their life and can save them from landfill and ultimately save money.

“It also shows people how repairing their broken items can be fun and rewarding because they will gain valuable practical knowledge they can use to fix other things around the house.”

READ ALSO Bega Valley Repair Cafe gives the broken and busted a second chance

Ms Maxwell is thankful for support the Repair Cafe has received.

“SHASA would like to thank Dave Neyle from Bega Valley Repair Cafe for his advice and support, and also the Repair Cafe Netherlands Foundation which has helped repair cafes to get started all over the world,” she said. “The Eurobodalla Repair Cafe will be the 43rd repair cafe in Australia.”

Volunteer Rob Shorrock repairing electrical items.

Volunteer Rob Shorrock repairing electrical items. Photo: Alex Rea.

The Eurobodalla Repair Cafe acknowledges and thanks its inaugural repairers: Thomas Schild, Rob Shorrock, Jo Fafie, Brett Stevenson and Noel Annabell, who all offer a range of skills.

The cafe is also about getting together for a cuppa and a snack. The volunteers to run the venue are Valerie Faber, Charlie Bell, Julie Klugman, Nick Hopkins, Lee Gleeson, Deb Stevenson and Kathryn Maxwell.

Ms Maxwell thanked the community members who supplied food for the cafe’s opening, those who brought in items for repair, and everyone for respecting COVID-19 guidelines.

While starting off small, the Repair Cafe hopes to expand its range and if it can’t repair an item it will endeavor to refer people to a small business that can.

“It’s important to enhance awareness of what’s out there” said Ms Maxwell.

Angus Murphy leaning on bike.

Angus Murphy from Moruya Bicycles has volunteered to fix bikes at the Eurobodalla Repair Cafe. Photo: Alex Rea.

The Repair Cafe will be open every Friday from 10 am to 2 pm at Red Door Hall, St John’s Anglican Parish, Moruya. Everyone is welcome to come along and bring items that need fixing.

If you would like to volunteer as a repairer or to assist with the running of Eurobodalla Repair Cafe, email [email protected]

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