Repair Café is a global movement to reduce waste and build skills and community.
During this monthly two-hour event, we have community members on hand who can help you with your items that need fixing. If you have a small appliance or piece of clothing or something else that needs fixing, please bring it in and have it repaired - for free :)
Thanks to our awesome team of volunteer "fixers", more than half of all the broken items that are brought in get repaired! Some of the items that have been repaired in the past are: toaster ovens, curling irons, clocks, lamps, jeans, purses, coats, chairs, radios, microwaves, and many more.
Please see our booking site (link below) to see the latest event dates and to RSVP for free.
Interested in being a “fixer”?
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Repair Café and what do I need to know about it?
The Repair Café is a free, volunteer-run initiative that operates about once per month with the goal of repairing items that were once loved but are no longer working. It is our hope to extend the lives of different items that would otherwise be sent to landfills and replaced by purchasing a new item.
While not mandatory, we recommend that you register ahead of time (see below).
In order to give everyone a chance to have their item looked at, at the time of the Repair Café, we will only look at one of your items at a time. If your first item is done being looked at/repaired, we encourage you to get back in line and “check in” your second item.
What types of items can you fix?
We have successfully been able to repair over 500 items at London’s Repair Café events! Depending on the issue with the item, the following items are worth looking at:
- Clothing items with various rips and tears
- Lamps that need electrical parts replaced
- Sewing machines
- Small appliances
- Physically broken items such as broken glass or ceramics (if not broken into too many pieces!), wooden pieces (such as chairs), etc
- And much more! If you’re not sure, email email@example.com and ask
What types of items can you likely NOT fix?
While we have been successful with repairing a variety of items, with the experience we’ve gained over the years, the following items may be too difficult to fix. However, you are still welcome to bring them so a Fixer can take a look.
- Mini refrigerators
- Zipper repair is often difficult and dependent on the Fixers present (see below)
- Please note that we will not accept any gasoline-powered items.
Can you fix my broken zipper?
For any issue that isn't fixable, replacing the zipper entirely is often an option if certain sewists are helping that night. You would need to get and bring a new zipper with you.
Zipper replacement is generally NOT an option for leather, vinyl, or footwear.
Common zipper issues:
- Missing zipper teeth - cannot be fixed.
- Bent/warped zipper teeth - might be fixable *if* the teeth are metal. Unlikely if plastic teeth.
- A stuck zipper pull - might be fixable.
- Zipper separates or pulls apart even after you've zipped it closed - might be fixable *if* the zipper pull itself is metal. Not if it's plastic.
- Missing zipper pull - not fixable unless you have the exact one to match your zipper size.
- Misaligned zipper with no missing teeth - might be fixable *if* the top of the zipper is held in place by little bits of metal.
What do I need to bring to the Repair Café?
- For electrical/electronic items, please bring the power cord and/or batteries so we can see what the problem is and verify if we have fixed the item.
- For broken items that need something replaced in order to work again, please bring the replacement part. The Repair Café is solely volunteer-run and the “Fixers” in attendance are volunteering their time and tools to help fix various items. They are not responsible for supplying replacement parts for broken items.
Some examples of replacements parts you may need to bring are:
- new cell phone screens
- new switches for electrical items
- new lightbulbs for lamps
- buttons and zippers to be added to clothing items, etc
If you do not know what new part your item needs, please come to the Repair Café near that beginning (6 pm) so one of our fixers can take a look and advise you on what part(s) you may need. If time allows, you may be able to run to the store (Home Hardware, etc) to purchase the replacement part, return to the Repair Café, and have your item fixed before the end of the evening (no guarantees though)!
Do I need to register ahead of time?
We highly recommend that you register ahead of time so we have a better idea of the number of people we expect and so we can make sure we have the right number of volunteer Fixers present. We also want to make sure we have at least one Fixer that is skilled at looking at the type of item you are bringing.
Having said this, if you decide to come last-minute and have not registered, we would gladly take a look at your item.
Will I be seen as soon as I check in on the day of the Repair Café?
Based on our experience, you might be seen right away if you come near the beginning of the Repair Café. However, more likely than not, you will have to wait. It is not possible for us to estimate the wait time.
Sometimes, Fixers can take the entire two hours fixing one person’s item and other times, something can be straightforward for that fixer. We do not know how long an item will take until the Fixer takes a look.
To minimize your wait time, either come early (before 6 pm) or around the halfway mark (7 pm) - although if you come halfway through there is a chance that we will run out of time to look at your item. Coming early is definitely the safest bet.
We would like to remind our attendees to please be patient on the day of the event. We are all volunteers just trying to help make a difference in the world!
On the day of the Repair Café, is it first come, first served?
In a way, yes. However, our Fixers are all volunteers that may have a special talent in repairing certain types of items (sewing, electrical, electronics, bicycles, etc) so if you attend the café, we will find someone suitable to take a look at your item as soon as one is available. That means that someone who shows up after you but has a different type of item may be seen first if a Fixer that is more appropriate to look at their item is available before someone who specializes in your type of item.
Is there a charge to this service?
No, there is no charge. We are all volunteers.
Can I make a donation to the Repair Café?
We gratefully accept donations, which enable us to continue offering this volunteer-run event.
How to donate to the Repair Café:
- Send an e-transfer to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Make a cash donation at any Repair Café event or Monday to Saturday at Reimagine Co, 206 Piccadilly St, London.