Repair Cafe Ballarat launches with vision to shift throwaway mindset
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Repair Cafe Ballarat launches with vision to shift throwaway mindset

Repair Cafe Ballarat launches with vision to shift throwaway mindset

Published in the Ballarat Courier on July 26, by Rochelle Kirkham.

A group of Ballarat residents are advocating for the right to repair while empowering their community with the skills and knowledge to fix their broken items.

They are a group of volunteers on a mission to make repairing items easier and cheaper for people in Ballarat than buying new ones.

It is an effort to encourage a behaviour shift that could give hundreds of broken items a new lease of life and reduce the number of items going to landfill.

More than 20 volunteers will offer their repair skills and knowledge at the launch of Repair Cafe Ballarat on Saturday.

People with broken items are encouraged to visit the Repair Cafe where they will be paired with a volunteer fixer to work on the repair while learning how to do it themselves along the way.

Ballarat not-for-profit Hackerspace, a learning place to promote skills in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics, has partnered with Repair Cafe Ballarat with a view to promote and encourage the right to repair.

Hackerspace vice president Robert Layton said he would like to see more people be aware of the right to repair and its flow on effects.

“The Hackerspace mentality is you should be able to buy something and own it – that means to be able to buy things, open them up and use them for unintended purposes. That is what the word hack means, to take something and make it do something it wasn’t intended to originally,” he said. 

“Because of that we encourage a right to repair. If your television breaks down you should be able to repair it if you have the skills and time to do so.

“We are seeing a lot of companies deliberately making products so you can’t repair it yourself, which then leads into the throwaway society and the problems caused by that.”

Repair Cafe Ballarat founder Mary Duff said the launch of Repair Cafe in Ballarat was a step toward shifting ‘throwaway’ mindsets. 

“It will take time for people to change their purchasing habits,” she said.

“My long-term vision is for other people step up and organise to host a repair cafe in their suburb. I hope there will be a significant reduction in landfill.”

Existing Repair Cafes around Ballarat reported a 71 per cent repair success rate in 2018.

Volunteers available during first Repair Cafe in Ballarat on Saturday have skills in television, textile, electrical, wooden barrel, books, bicycles and jewelry repairs.

The Repair Cafe launch will feature the demonstration of the creation of a 3D printed part for repair at 1.30pm, a welcome speech by Ms Duff at 2pm and a Q & A with electrical engineers from Hackerspace on repairing electrical goods. 

Repairs are completed free at the event that runs from 1pm to 4pm at the Ballarat Tech School on Saturday July 27.

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