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Trying to attract a younger audience is one of the most important tasks that Repair Cafés see for themselves in the future. This conclusion can be drawn from the Global Survey of Repair Cafés. Repair Café International Foundation carried this survey out together with the University of Manchester and the University for the Creative Arts in 2019.

295 Repair Cafés participated in survey
A total of 295 Repair Cafés in fourteen countries took the time to answer the questions in the survey. These questions covered all kinds of aspects of the Repair Café: organisational issues, kinds and numbers of products brought in for repair, specific goals of individual Repair Cafés and many other aspects.

Dolls’ hospitals and student volunteers
Attracting younger visitors and younger repair volunteers are the most frequently mentioned issues that Repair Cafés experience difficulties with (see chart below, page 23 in the survey report). At the same time, the survey shows that a lot is already being done to achieve these goals. Among specific activities mentioned by the respondents are:

  • Bicycle light repair events
  • Having a tinker station where kids are encouraged to get hands-on with tools, take things apart ect.
  • Working together with a community youth project or inviting school classes
  • Organizing toy repair workshops and dolls’ hospitals
  • Recruiting student volunteers

Lobby for better product design
Asked about the future, the second most important development that Repair Cafés identify is to build a stronger involvement in campaigns for improved reparability and product longevity. Here, the volunteers also see an important role for Repair Café International Foundation. The most popular future role for the Foundation, according to the respondents, would be to lobby for policies that encourage better product design, and to enter in conversation with companies about this topic.

Being part of something bigger
In their report, the researchers try to find out what kind of community the Repair Café community is. They write: “The one thing that makes the Repair Café community special is that on the one hand it seems to be a relatively loose collection of locally-oriented community initiatives. On the other hand, there is a sense of being part of something bigger; something that resembles a larger movement.”

Want to learn more? Download the entire survey report.

This post has one comment

  1. Hi there my 15 yr old son loves fixing his bike and skateboard bearings. However we came across a challenge the other day getting a motor to spin better on a very old 60/70s wooden music system turntable. Would it be possible to get some advise or book in a video fix link up for him? So far we’ve tried flopping off the turn table and oiling the one bearing we could see.


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