Repair Cafe 

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In this throwaway world, there is a glimmer of hope.

Since November last year, the Repair Cafe has been operating the 2nd Sunday every month at the Eco-centre in Blessington St Kilda.

You walk into the repair room, it is a hive of activity.

People sitting, eagerly waiting their turn, to present the broken items at their feet or on their laps.

In one corner someone sitting at one of the repair tables. Viewing with anticipation the disembowelled bits and pieces of a fan motor before them, seemingly randomly scattered over the workbench. Magically, it ends up reassembled, with a knowing smile from the repairman, a return smile of gratitude from the owner and the whirring of a fan saved from landfill.

At the other end of the room, women with decades of sewing experience hunched over sewing machines, running up a split in a dress. A lamp flickering intermittently at another desk. A radio/amplifier, top removed exposing all the intricacies of a miniature urbanscape. An old art deco toaster having a dead mouse extricated, with a white rubber-gloved hand, reminiscent of a surgical procedure.

Time runs at a quick pace in here. The outside world with all its troubles seems far removed. For in this room there is hope. Things are actually being fixed.

No future promises, nor rhetorical blame gaming someone else.

This is old school, roll up your sleeves and get it done. No kicking the can down the road.  As a result an overall happy vibe emanates throughout the room. Even when the occasional non-fixable item appears, there is still grateful for the attempt.

With over a half dozen or so motivated repairers, ranging from retired engineers to stay at home mothers with years of sewing experience, just about anything will be attempted. Even electrical appliances that are designed not to be opened, can often be repaired.

The prime objective of the day is to save on landfill. To repair everything from a cuckoo clock to sewing up a hem on a dress. Everything is to be salvaged if possible. A note is taken of the weight of each repaired item and at the end of the day it is tallied and the total weight saved from landfill is triumphantly read out loud.

It is a rewarding moment.

If you are a City of Port Phillip resident, bring down your household items in need of repair and we will have a look at them for you. Enquiries John Hillel 9807 9653.

There is no charge, but donations to the eco-centre are gladly accepted.

I am one of the repairers, see you there soon.

Alan West   

                                                                          photo courtesy of CoPP Divercity/Chris Cassa

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