18 Feb Community moves to set up Ballarat Repair Cafe
Published in the Ballarat Courier on February 18, by Rochelle Kirkham
Ballarat could soon have its own Repair Cafe where community members meet to share skills and fix items that would otherwise go to landfill.
Grampians Central West Waste and Resource Recovery Group is supporting Ballarat resident Mary Duff and interested community members to gauge interest and share ideas on how to get a Repair Cafe running in Ballarat.
An information session will be held on March 16 to workshop ideas and hear from guest speaker Michelle Fisher who is founder of the Melbourne Repair Cafe.
“We want people to start thinking they will buy something, look after it, learn to care for it and if it needs to be fixed it can be repaired.“La Vergne Lehmann, GCWWRRG
Mary Duff said she first spoke about setting up a Repair Cafe with a friend more than three years ago and felt embarrassed it had still not happened in Ballarat.
“I think people are getting sick of the fact things just aren’t made to last anymore and they are concerned with waste and impact on the environmental,” Ms Duff said.
“From the information session we hope there will be enough interest to organise a venue and a date.
“Ideally it would mean a reduction in landfill but also would create an opportunity for the sharing of repair skills and new friendships.”
Ms Duff said she met with the organisers of the Daylesford Repair Cafe in January to hear about their experience setting it up.
Daylesford started its first Repair Cafe in October. A contingent of volunteers gather at Victoria Park on the first Sunday of each month to share skills and help other community members to repair their broken items.
Woodend and Castlemaine also has a Repair Cafe.
Grampians Central West Waste and Resource Recovery Group chief executive La Vergne Lehmann said she had been speaking to various members of the Ballarat community for months about setting up a Repair Cafe as part of the Can Do Communities program.
She said the establishment of a Repair Cafe needed a group of people who are prepared to run and organise the event, people who are prepared to offer skills to help with repairs and people who have things they want to get repaired.
“Repair Cafes don’t need large amounts of money to get going; they just need a venue, a group that will auspice them for insurance purpose, support of the local council is helpful and a few small grants to get some equipment,” Ms Lehmann said.
“Particularly with the landfill ban on e waste coming in mid year we are keen to see people start thinking about how they purchase things and purchasing with a view to repair rather than throwaway.
“We want people to start thinking they will buy something, look after it, learn to care for it and if it needs to be fixed it can be repaired. But people don’t necessarily have the skills or knowledge to repair, so a lot of this is about sharing skills – some of them are quite old fashioned skills.”
One product successfully repaired at a Repair Café can prevent up to 24 kg of carbon dioxide being emitted, according to University of Surrey (UK) researcher Steve Privett.
Repair Cafe is a worldwide movement that began in the Netherlands in 2009.
There are more than 1500 Repair Cafes worldwide and more than 30 in Australia.
Those interested in the idea of a Repair Cafe are invited to attend the Ballarat Repair Cafe information session at the Ballaarat Mechanics Institute from 10am on March 16.
Information will also be available at the Buninyong Smart Building and Living Expo at Royal Park on Sunday from 10am.