RC logo small, mixKingston upon Thames
NEWS
With thanks to Kingston Library for the use of its lovely community space, to John Lewis Kingston for the seed-funding that enabled us to start this pr
oject, and to funding from Kingston Council's Community Resilience Fund which will enable us to keep going. Find out more about Repair Cafe Kingston.

February 2024
We celebrated our first anniversary in February with a birthday cake and a visit and some kind words from the Mayor of Kingston, pictured here below with the team of volunteers and library staff who have helped to make our first year so successful. Thank you, volunteers new and not so new for your commitment, experience and skills, Kingston Library staff for all their help and patience, and thank you, Paul, for the splendid birthday cake! Later, local MP Ed Davey came along to join the celebrations and chat to volunteers and visitors.


Feb RCK
And we were as busy as usual fixing broken items, making their owners happy and reducing waste.
busy RCK

 

 

 

January 2024
Around 20 visitors brought a range of items to repair atsuitcase our January repair event. Around 16 were fixed, with other visitors leaving with ideas or advice on parts needed. Two of the fixes took a considerable amount of time: a tape / CD deck and a wheelie suitcase (pictured here) , but were very satisfying for fixers and visitors. “Great service and my disk player and radio repaired” reported one satisfied customer. 
Assist in repair research
Repair Cafe Kingston users and others might like to participate in an Imperial College research project investigating experiences of a broken or malfunctioning small household electrical or electronic product. The responses will help them to understand which factors influence repair.

December

Our skilful volunteers did some excellent and worthwhile repairs at the December Repair Café: our stitchers made a coat as good as new by replacing its worn fastenings with new ones that the owner had sensibly brought, and made some school backpacks usable once more, while on our miscellaneous table Ray moulded a replacement foot for a wooden toy, and other versatile fixers mended a wooden lamp-stand (both pictured below).
 
december fix2December fix

 

And there were the usual electrical appliances to repair: a vacuum cleaner, an electric kettle... and grateful customers:
"Fantastic service. Highly recommended!" (Comment on Facebook)

“Please would you thank Karim, Steve and Graham for their “24 hours in A&E” efforts on my speaker jack plug this morning (I think I’ve got the names right). I’m pleased to say it’s now working perfectly. It was also good to chat to them – surely an important part of the whole enterprise.” Indeed!

November
RCK data, Nov23

 


   
   
Our Busy November session completed the most repairs we've done so far - well done, volunteer fixers!

October
Our October Repair Cafe seemed even busier than usual, with lots of visitors, including the CEO of Kingston Council, two visitors from other local repair cafes coming along to chat and share experiences, an MA student researching us, and people with a variety of items to fix. We consumed even more tea and biscuits than usual, while our skilful and versatile volunteers repaired and/or gave advice on a vacuum cleaner, an electric kettle, a laptop, a blanket, a radio, a backpack, a desk lamp, a blender, a heat-sealer, and a jacket amongst other things, and also showed visitors what they were doing and how to fix things themselves, a useful bit of skill-sharing.

RCK oct

 

Their efforts, even when items proved too hard to repair, were appreciated, as this email afterwards showed: “I came to the repair cafe yesterday to see if I could get my ice machine fixed. The guys were really helpful but unfortunately it didn’t work. I really appreciate you trying.”

The Textile Repair and Upcycling event a few days earlier was useful too, with three volunteer stitchers helping four visitors with a variety of alterations and repairs, giving new life to old clothes. Repair Café also signed The UK Repair and Reuse Declaration which was launched on International Repair Day in October.

Textiles upcycling event, Oct23

 

September 2023

One of our sweetest repair stories and fixes came to the September Repair Cafe - a fortieth wedding anniversary present to parents needing to be restored to life for another significant anniversary.
 
Volunteer Alan below, enabling the puppies to sing again.
Singing puppies

You can see a short video of the revived pups singing "I've got you babe" at https://www.facebook.com/groups/ttkingston.

Some happy visitors’ comments:

Sept repair“Took some things into the repair cafe in Kingston. Including this *incredible* Koala Christmas decoration, which we rescued from a charity shop for 20p. He’s now had a makeover with an added pompom! Thank you to @ttkingston

"Thank you for the happy visit today. My Dualit toaster was carefully worked on even though not successfully. However, I’m very much impressed by your happy team and a good workplace in the library."

 

 Resilience Fund

pretty lamp repair

 

August 2023

One of our prettiest repair jobs so far, on the right, completed at our August Repair Cafe.

July 2023

Good to see TTK and our monthly Repair Café getting positive mentions in the Council's Climate Action Plan 2023 updates - we are doing our bit!

June 2023

MP at RCKComment on TTK's Repair Cafe last Saturday from a satisfied visitor: "First time frequenting the Kingston Repair Cafe today. Great experience. Lovely people and my 20+ year old coffee grinder saved from landfill! Amazing! Thanks to all the volunteers!"

We also had a visit from local MP Sarah Olney, who dropped in to see how we were doing and to chat with volunteers, pictured here.

 

 

May

Despite the competing attraction of the Coronation, the Library and our Repair Cafe opened as usual, and our volunteers had the usual variety of items to repair. RCK organisers completed an application to the Council's Community Resilience Fund - fingers crossed!

April 2023

Data from our first 3 repair sessions below, showing that most visitors had their broken items repaired or got useful advice on repairing them. From our contacts with other repair cafes, this seems to be about average. 

RCK data, Feb-April2023

Message from a satisfied client after our April 1st Repair Cafe:

March news
teddie

Our March Repair Cafe went well too. The teddies were back, the electricals and electronics fixers were kept busy, and a satisfied customer wrote: "I’d like to say a huge “thank you” to the organisers and volunteers at the repair cafe today! It’s so kind of them to give their time and share their skills with others. The textile items I brought in were very well-used, much loved and in need of rescuing; they now have a new lease of life!" We also had a nice mention from the Leader of Kingston Council in the Surrey Comet, writing about Kingston's greener future and our "innovative and exciting green initiative".

coffee machine

 

February news

See the report of our very successful start on February 4th, and also Kingston Council's news item about our Repair Cafe and the item in local MP Sarah Olney's February newsletter. We also had coverage and a photo in the Kingston University newspaper and a soundbite on BBC Radio Surrey & Sussex. We are now looking forward to our next Repair Cafe on the morning of March 4th.

stitchers


January 2023 updates

Project group meetings continue, including a "site visit" to Kingston Library to work out how to arrange the furniture and Repair Cafe storage, along with some training in how to take the on-line donations towards our costs that we hope will come in.  Interest is growing, volunteer fixers are offering their many skills - and we are beginning to feel almost ready to go - although unfortunately our second attempt at getting funding, from Veolia, failed (ideas of other funding bodies welcome)!

On our first morning, Saturday 4th February, we will take bookings for repair slots after 11.00am, to give us an hour with volunteers for briefings and the opportunity to get to know each other.


December updates

23/12/23
The Repair Cafe project group continues to meet weekly, even during this holiday period, and is gradually building up a useful list of skilled volunteers who we will be contacting soon with the code of conduct/sign up sheet that we are working on.

16/12/23
We have started, in a small way, doing essential shopping for the Repair Cafe and gradually moving useful stuff into Kingston Library community room. A big thank you to the Library staff for their helpfulness and positivity! The Repair Cafe Kingston project group is meeting weekly to decide on and implement all the practical things that need doing before February - and we are seeking volunteers to help keep useful stuff out of the waste system and make our Repair Cafe happen - see above

Sadly, TTK didn't get the award from Transition Together that we had applied for, but we still aim to start on the first Saturday of February, and we will continue to seek funding and donations to enable us to grow from small beginnings. 

November update

We have had very positive conversations with Kingston librarians, who are as keen to have users such as our Repair Cafe in the new community room in the central Library as we are to be there! We intend to start small-ish (see October update below) and to build up our repair offer as we attract more volunteer fixers and funding - we may even offer a few craft/visible repair sessions (see the lovely examples from the summer 2022 "Eternally Yours" exhibition at Somerset House). There will be hot drinks and cakes too!

We hope to open on the first Saturday morning in February 2023 - so watch this space.

Are you good at fixing things? Would you like to share your skills and experience with the local community, helping to keep items that still have some useful life out of the waste stream? Top asks are for textile/clothes repairs, bikes, small electrical appliances ... but if we can offer other kinds of repair, maybe clocks, china or garden tools, perhaps occasionally, we think there will be interest. We hope our Saturday morning sessions will be sociable too, with hot drinks and cakes, and that volunteers and visitors will enjoy exploring the main library too. Please contact us if you can help and/or would like to know more.

October - November 2022 

logoRC2Transition Town Kingston is currently busy planning and fund-raising for a regular Repair Café in Kingston. We have done lots of research,  joined the international Repair Café network, recruited some skilled volunteers, and we have some start-up funds, thanks to a donation from John Lewis Kingston. Once we have enough funding to permit longevity and growth and have secured a suitable venue (central and accessible, with space for safe storage and for several different kinds of repair to go on at the same time), we will launch this very useful service, which will help to keep usable stuff out of the waste system and, with the Repair Cafe ethos of "watch and learn", increase the skills and resilience of participants. We also intend that our monthly repair cafes will be sociable events, with refreshments, enjoyable for our volunteers as well as for residents who bring along possessions needing fixing.

Top repair asks in our current survey (you can join in here) are textile repairs, which TTK’s earlier Stitch in Time project has some experience of (as in the photos below), and bicycles, which may already be catered for by other groups, along with demand for a range of other repairs, including electrical appliances. These findings confirm what we have learnt from other repair workshops and cafes. We plan to start modestly with textile and lap-top software fixes and, perhaps, other small repairs, and then grow over several months to offer other kinds of repair. We recommend Twickenham Repair Café (pictured below) as a well organised, successful and very helpful nearby Repair Cafe which we visited recently.  

Twickenham RC

We thank Kingston Council’s Climate Action team and Waste Reduction Officer for their support, and John Lewis Kingston who have made a generous contribution towards our Repair Café start-up fund.

The photos below show TTK's Stitch in Time out and about at a local fair (below left) and sharing skills in our original venue, Kingston Environment Centre, when it was on Fairfied East in central Kingston (below right).

SiT out and aboutStitch-pic