Spotlight On… Royston Repair Cafe – Repairing Royston

The Royston Repair Café is ten years old and there’s much to celebrate.

In the past decade at 33 Repair Cafes sessions, 32 different volunteer repairers attempted 1100 repairs and were successful with over 600 of them. Compared with The Repair Shop on TV, the stars of the show are less the owners and their stories, more the hard-working volunteer repairers saving no longer hard-working household items from the dump.

The top ten items booked in for a free assessment and, if possible, a free fix, are radios and lamps in top place, followed by vacuum cleaners, clothing items (including zips), food processors, hi-fi units, clocks, hair dryers and straighteners, steam and jet cleaners, and TVs. More unusual items include a musical Christmas decoration with little drummers, an indoor ornamental fountain with lights, and a table-top juke box. It’s always a pleasure to fix children’s much-loved and over-used favourite toys. A dragon, clown, penguin and robotic dog have all been given new life at recent sessions.

Favourite fixes

Repairer Frank gets a buzz from inspiring the next generation of fixers. “A mum and son brought in a Nintendo Switch controller that had been dropped and no longer functioned… Not only was this satisfying to fix, saving them £60 for two minutes of my time, but the interaction was very pleasant. The son wanted to be an inventor… both of them showed great interest in what they might fix in future. To me, that is the most rewarding part – passing on the confidence to fix something themselves.”

Ace tent-repairer and zip-fixer Rebecca (founder of Tentshare) recalls her favourite fix. “It was a coat with a broken zip and a tear in the pocket. Last week, I saw the owner of the coat out walking her dog. The coat is still going strong, being used every day on her twice-daily dog walks – very satisfying!”

Join the repair revolution

Year on year, there has been increased interest in reducing waste and saving money through repair. Each quarterly Royston Repair Café is fully booked and has now been joined by other community repair initiatives across North Hertfordshire and South Cambridgeshire.

The next repair session in Royston is on 10th February at Coombes Community Centre. Owners with a broken item can book it in online via, or in case of difficulty, can call 07962 157589. The group’s Facebook page also features repair tips, news updates, and repairers’ favourite fixes –