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How it started and what it does

Repair Café is an international movement which started in the Netherlands in 2009, with the aim of reducing waste by repairing broken items and teaching people how to repair things instead of throwing them away. There are now more than 2500 Repair Cafes worldwide including over 250 in UK.

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The idea of starting a Repair Cafe in Thirsk was first discussed in 2019/20 at the St Oswald's Five Parishes Men's Breakfast group, as a project with the potential for making a small impact on the problem of waste, whilst engaging with the community at large. This had to be postponed due to the Covid pandemic, and the project was resurrected in 2022, with Thirsk Friends of the Earth group becoming involved, providing volunteers and FoE insurance cover. A public meeting recruited more volunteer repairers, and the first Repair Café was held in June 2022.

A place to work was first provided by Thirsk Community Works, at the rear of the Re-use store in Thirsk market place. In the autumn the Repair Café moved to a warmer location upstairs in Thirsk Community Library, and has continued to use that space with the kind support of the library team. A grant from North Yorkshire County Council, facilitated by Dave Whitfield, then Green Party councillor for Sowerby and Topcliffe, enabled us to buy equipment.


The Repair Café is held at approximately 5 or 6 week intervals on Saturday mornings; we generally have about 30 customers per session and a repair success rate around 70%. It’s a busy, satisfying and enjoyable time. We have a team of enthusiastic and skilled volunteers, from the Men's Breakfast group, Thirsk Friends of the Earth group, and others. We welcome anyone who would like to join us, whatever skills you may have; as well as repairing things there are other ways you can help, such as greeting customers, refreshments, organising, publicity.

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