First Repair Café launches in Red Deer

  • Nov. 18, 2015 4:03 p.m.

Thanks to a partnership between ReThink Red Deer and the Red Deer Public Libraries, a community Repair Café was held at the Dawe Library Branch to encourage citizens to reuse and recycle more of their goods.

Repair Café was designed by Martine Postma, who held the first event in Amsterdam in 2009. The idea behind it is to invite citizens to a central location where they can learn to do small repairs on household items. Programs can be open to a variety of items at once, or focused on a specific topic each time.

Red Deer’s first Repair Café was held on Nov. 16th at the Dawe Library branch, with a focus on textiles and fabrics. Branch Manager Tatiana Tilly was present with ReThink Red Deer volunteer Kim Stengler to offer their services to community members.

“When I read about Repair Café, I thought that first of all it was a brilliant idea. The thought and creative spirit that is behind it is great. Secondly, I liked that the program was already set up. All we had to do was pick up the program, look at the ideas that are behind it and apply it to our City,” Tilly said.

“I thought it would be perfect for the library because libraries are here to help people to reconnect with different areas of life. We have a variety of books on all kinds of subjects, especially in the non-fiction area. We also feel passionate about new recycling and reusing ideas that come through. I thought (the Repair Café) paralleled the library’s mission to help people learn new things and be conscious of their choices,” she explained.

Tilly and Stengler worked together with other members of their organizations to bring the program to the City. The goal was to encourage people to take a chance at small household repairs to reduce waste in the City landfill, and to bring awareness to the ease and convenience of simple repairs.

“ReThink Red Deer is here to help people think about how we act as a society as a whole. It’s about things like riding your bicycle versus a vehicle, growing urban sustainability, growing your own food. Not many people are aware of or take actions for those things. The Repair Café really blended well with our ideologies and the projects we go for,” Stengler said.

“We were looking at hosting a Repair Café in March and then maybe expanding it. This event was a place to start. Maybe next time it will be textiles and looking at household item fuses or something like that.”

Closer to March more information will be available on the date and time of the next Repair Café. Both Tilly and Stengel said they hope the program will grow, and they hope people recognize the benefits it could have in every day waste reduction.

“It’s so easy for people to throw something away and go buy another one instead of actually doing the work themselves while they’re watching TV or visiting with people. It’s something good to do that isn’t destructive,” Stengel said.

“It’s easier to talk with somebody that knows what they’re doing instead of going on YouTube or trying to learn straight from the book. If you have any questions, you can ask them right at the Café.”

Information on the programs is available online at the Repair Café Foundation web site.