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others how to mend things or learn

a craft. It could be crochet, or how

to darn your socks, or how to wire a

lamp. We open the doors from 2pm

until 5pm and people show up with

things - there’s no need to book in.

And we serve refreshments when we

can, too - that’s where the café part

comes in.”

There are no restrictions on the

items you can bring along, so if in

doubt, bring it in. If the volunteers

think your item is beyond repair

they will always say so. People have

brought in all sorts of objects over

the last three years.

“We’ve had a few old clocks that

people really value, but mostly it’s kettles, hairdryers

and other electricals,” says Pam. “We’ve had vacuum

cleaners, lawnmowers, a pushchair where the brake

was getting stuck. A few laptops and tablets. Our

repairers are sensible people and if you want some

advice as to whether to fix something or take it to the

recycling centre, we can do that type of check.”

This really important service is provided free of

charge, but you can make donations in exchange

for repairs which are put back into the Café to pay

for room hire, refreshments and so on. Pam believes

repeating, sharing and living by the ‘repair and reuse’

mantra is critical if we are to stop replacing goods

unnecessarily and reduce our waste problem.

“We’re living in a throwaway age when people just

get rid and get another if something isn’t working,”

she says. “That attitude needs to change - we all

know that. When we can repair an item for someone

that they thought was broken, it’s a great joy when

they can take it home and they don’t need to buy

another one.”

Most of us, when we take broken or obsolete items

to the recycling centre, think we’re taking it there to

be dealt with properly and recycled. Some of it is,

but by no means all. Electrical recycling waste is a

massive problem. Pam thinks manufacturers should

be playing a bigger role in preventing items ending

up in the recycling centre at all, by making spare

parts available or taking items back for repair.

“Manufacturers do pay into a central fund that’s

used by local authorities to recycle electrical waste,

but that’s the wrong way around,” she insists. “There

is Right to Repair legislation coming in, which will

mean for certain new products the manufacturer

has to have affordable spares available, but it’s very




limited. They have got to make things last longer.”

Lichfield Repair and Share Café takes place on the

third Saturday of every month (except December

and August) at Curborough, but Pam and the other

volunteers are always looking for ways to get the

message out and reach more people. They hosted

a pop-up in The Nest space in Lichfield city centre,

organised by Nurture Network in the former Marks

and Spencer. They’ve done repair sessions at the

Methodist church’s eco-festival in September as

part of The Great Big Green Week, and at the Fuse


There’s also a new repair and share café that recently

started up in Burntwood. Local councillor Sue

Woodward was instrumental in getting it set up and a

few repairers who live locally offered their help. The

first session took place in early December.

They have looked into creating a ‘Library of

Things’, where members borrow useful items without

having to buy their own, but that’s still a little beyond

reach for now. However, Pam recommends the food

sharing app Olio, which has a borrow section for

other items, and Streetbank, another app where you

can share items with the community. So if you’ve got

a pressure washer, for example, and you’re happy to

loan it out you can do it that way.

The next Repair and Share Café at Curborough

Community Centre will take place between 2-5pm

on January 15, 2022. Follow Lichfield Repair

& Share Café on Facebook, @lichrepaircafe

on Instagram or @lichfieldshare on Twitter for


If you or someone you know has repair skills you’re

happy to volunteer, you can get in touch with Pam

and the team on lichfieldshare@gmail.com.



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