“I fix things around the house, but don’t ask me to repair a coffee machine”, says Ben Schuurman, (co)founder of Repair Café Venray in the Netherlands. “And nowadays there’s hardly anywhere where you can get things repaired.” So, until recently, even 59-year-old Ben had no other option but to throw away broken items. This greatly annoyed him, because “a lot of what we throw away is usable again if repaired”.
Venray has a thriving charitable community. There are many active volunteers. Yet there was no Repair Café. Residents visited the Repair Cafés in places nearby. That’s why the former supermarket manager decided to set up one in Venray, together with a friend.
Help one another
Venray has about 28,500 residents. Ben: “Many residents know each other. And they like to help one another.” The founders asked friends and acquaintances; they placed Facebook requests and made appeals in local media. In no time at all, more than twenty volunteers signed up to be part of the Repair Café team. The team received 45 visitors during the first repair meeting in January. The following month, 80 people came! Unfortunately, because of the corona crisis, the repair activities in Venray have come to a standstill.
“The volunteers are looking forward to the next repair meeting. They are people who like to work with their hands. They want to do something for their community. And they like to have a good time”, says Ben. They can repair almost anything, much to the delight of the visitors. Until now, visitors have mainly come in with electrical and electronic devices: coffee machines, toasters, DVD and CD players. But there were also visitors with extraordinary, precious possessions, such as an antique mechanical scale. And the textile volunteers got stuck in fixing signs of wear and tear and fallen-off buttons.
The two initiators found the Repair Café starter kit useful when establishing their Repair Café. “Perfect”, Ben describes this product from the Repair Café Foundation. “Once you’ve purchased that, you’re half done. With the manual and other material, you don’t have to think about what to do before starting your Repair Café. Everything is in there.”
Would you like to start a Repair Café?
Order the starter kit via our website!