These notes are intended to prepare everyone for Repair Cafe Kingston and ensure that sessions go smoothly and safely. We will also post updates about what items we are currently offering to repair on this page. See also our News and Facebook pages for more updates and photos of some of the items brought in for repair, and also our House Rules for volunteers and visitors.
- Watch and learn - have a go! Clients are expected to remain with the repairer while the repair is being carried out in order to see how the repair is being done and learn new skills. Items should not be left with the repairer for collection later.
- Booking ahead - we recommend that you book your repair slot here to save you queueing, so that our volunteers know what to expect, and so that we can alert you to potential difficulties with your item and save you a fruitless journey (see the list at the end of this page). Our last booking time for repairs is 12.30 to give plenty of time for the repair and clearing up afterwards. A photo with your booking of the repair needed, especially if it is an unusual one, may help.
- Dangerous tools and equipment will be present and sometimes used in repairs. Vulnerable adults and all children must be accompanied, and parents must exercise control over, and be responsible for, the behaviour of their children whilst at the Repair Café.
- The client is responsible for providing any consumables such as spares, leads, plugs, batteries, fuses, zips, etc. that may be needed to fully complete a repair.
- We ask for feedback and occasionally take photos of our events for marketing purposes - should you not wish to be quoted or photographed please inform a member of the organising team (who will be wearing red name-badges).
- Visitors should act with courtesy, consideration and respect towards volunteer repairers, Repair Café organisers, Kingston Library staff, and other visitors. That includes ensuring that your items are hygienic and clean enough for our volunteers to handle.
We currently offer the following types of repair:
- Electrical and Electronic - some of our expert volunteers are more skilled at one than the other, but their skills overlap and they help each other. We have circuit breakers and a Portable Appliance Tester as safety precautions. If you need specialist spares or batteries or light-bulbs etc you would need to provide those.
- Textiles and Clothing - our stitchers, darners and crocheters are very experienced, and some can offer visible repairs. We have 2 sewing machines and a lot of useful kit, but if you need, e g, materials or zips of a particular colour or size you would need to provide those. (Zips are hard to repair, and broken ones generally need replacing with a new zip of a similar type.) One of our textile repairers is very good at fixing sewing machines, and most of this group can advise on how to use your sewing machine.
- Other Repairs/Triage - this is where to start your repair project if it doesn’t fit one of the other categories. We have glues and screws and tools, and the repairers on these 2 tables are very versatile and may be able to fix sewing machines, wooden items, including small items of furniture, jewellery, toys, china (you could even have a go at Kintsugi - the art of mending ceramics with gold)... Sending a photo of the repair needed ahead of your visit may help volunteers to have the right kit available.
- We can't repair everything! Some appliances are manufactured so that they cannot be repaired or their spare parts are unobtainable or prohibitively expensive, and some items may be damaged beyond repair. For some repairs we may only be able to diagnose a fault but not fix it, or that the item is irrepairable and should be recycled, or offer advice, or ask you to purchase necessary spares or materials and return with them the following month. If we can't fix your item, please see our list of recommended repair shops that may be able to help.
- We don't repair: large domestic appliances (no room, too specialist); bikes (not enough room, other organisations already provide this service); clocks and watches (no expert fixer so far); medical equipment (the stakes and risks are too high); microwaves, gas- and petrol- powered items (safety issues); antiques (too easy to damage, possibly too valuable); mobile phones (plenty of other places to get repairs)...