Keep Your Broken Items: The Repair Cafe is Starting in Portsmouth

Do you ever get frustrated when something breaks and the only option seems to be to ditch and replace it? A group of local residents are looking to change that by opening Portsmouth’s first Repair Café in April of this year. Cafe co-organiser Clare Seek reports.

We throw away piles of stuff in the UK, even things which have practically nothing wrong with them, and which could easily be used again after a simple repair. Unfortunately, lots of us don’t know where to start and we want to change that.

From April, the Portsmouth Repair Café will be held on the third Saturday of each month, between 10.30am and 1pm at Buckland URC Church, Kingston Road. The idea is that you bring along your broken items from home, whether it’s a toaster, lamp, hairdryer, clothes, bike, toy, or jewellery, and volunteer repair experts are available to help you fix it.

There’s a café at the Church, so you can enjoy a drink and cake whilst sitting with the repairer and learning how to fix the item. The repairs will be free, although donations are welcome to help support the group.

The Repair Café concept arose in the Netherlands in 2009, and a foundation was created in 2010 that provides support to local groups around the world wishing to start their own. This video from attn briefly outlines the idea of Repair Cafes.

Portsmouth will be the 185th to start in the UK, and has secured some local funding from The Partnership Foundation to help with some of the initial set-up costs.

Repairs don’t only save money and reduce waste, but many of us have broken items we simply can’t bear to part with, as they are special for some reason, and fixing them can give them a new lease of life. But above all, Repair Café wants to show how much fun repairing things can be, and how easy it often is.

We’re finalizing things for our first event, and are still on the lookout for more repairers, so if anyone has skills in electronics, sewing, jewellery, or loves baking cakes, we’d really love to hear from you, and you can email us at to get in touch.

Find out more at the Portsmouth Repair Cafe website, and their Facebook page.