South East Wales

Cardiff Repair Cafe aims to cut waste and teach skills

A woman gets an item of clothing fixed at the Repair Cafe Image copyright Rhys Jenkins

Volunteers in Cardiff are hoping to inspire a "make do and mend" revival with free repair events in a bid to divert useable items from waste dumps.

Joe O'Mahoney and Cerys Jones set up the Repair Cafe in Cathays after growing frustrated at the number of fixable items being thrown away.

The first event in April attracted dozens of people and saw 18 volunteers fix 43 items in four hours.

Monthly events are now planned and they also hope people will learn new skills.

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Media captionVivian Jones was one of the customers at the cafe on Saturday

The Repair Cafe movement began in Amsterdam in 2009 and has since spread around the world, including more than 30 registered groups in the UK.

Miss Jones got involved after answering a social media post from Mr O'Mahoney asking whether people would be interested if he set one up.

The pair organised the first event not knowing if anyone would turn up, but they were "overwhelmed" by the response.

Among the items fixed were clothes, bikes, irons and hair strengtheners, which were also safety tested.

Image copyright Rhys Jenkins
Image copyright Rhys Jenkins

"Our motivation is reducing what's sent to landfill, we're also really keen on bringing the community together," Miss Jones said.

"When you bring something, you get the option to learn a new skill so you can fix it yourself next time."

"Consumerism has gone a bit crazy and there's no requirement to be chucking things away when they could be fixed.

"It's quite different from our grandparents' generation, when things would be fixed out of necessity. We've lost all those skills."

About 38,000 tonnes of rubbish passed through Cardiff's waste centres in 2016-17.

Household waste which cannot be recycled in the city is no longer sent to landfill and instead goes to an incinerator, which deals with 172,000 tonnes of waste a year from five councils.

Miss Jones said people had been "chuffed to bits" with their newly-revived items.

If the success continues, Miss Jones hopes the event could also be held in areas across the city.

The next Repair Cafe is at The Table, Pentyrch Baptist Church, Cathays, from 10:00 BST to 14:00 on 6 May.

Image copyright Rhys Jenkins

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