Swooping magpies, Floriade bulbs and football fever: there’s no doubt spring is in full swing in Canberra.
But as Canberrans who are gripped by the urge to spring clean will have discovered, spring cleaning often has an unwanted side effect; it reminds us of all the stuff we have that is in need of repair.
Luckily, members of the Belconnen community are standing by ready to help the public at the first Hawker Community Repair Café on Sunday 18 October.
Held at the Hawker International Softball Centre, the event brings together Softball ACT, the Hawker Men’s Shed and the area’s local Buy Nothing community.
Frank Curcio, Softball ACT President and founding member of the Hawker Men’s Shed, says he is “delighted to see Softball ACT giving back to the local community through its support of the Hawker Men’s Shed and the Hawker Community Repair Cafe. Softball ACT is looking forward to a long-term relationship with both the Hawker Men’s Shed and the Hawker Community Repair Cafe.”
Volunteer repairers will be onsite to help members of the public repair their broken appliances, mend clothes, teach bicycle maintenance and fix broken costume jewellery.
Local artisans, skilled hobbyists and members of the Hawker and Belconnen Men’s Sheds will also be volunteering their time and lending their wealth of experience to help teach the repair skills many of us have forgotten.
Jill Whittaker, one of the event organisers, says she is looking forward to having the repair volunteers help her with a much-loved kitchen appliance.
“I broke my hand beaters making buttercream to ice a birthday cake recently. My first thought was that I would have to buy new ones, then I realised I could bring them along to the repair café and get help from an experienced tinkerer to find out if they are repairable. While it can be nice to buy new things, it is so much better to keep plastic out of landfill by using our trusty older items.”
The Canberra Environment Centre already runs a repair café from its premises at ANU, and a fabric-based repair café has been held at the University of Canberra. But those interested in the ‘repair café’ concept believe the more local these opportunities are, the better.
“Ideally, you shouldn’t have to go far to access people with skills to help and teach you how to repair things,” says Paris Lord, Belconnen group convenor of SEE-Change. “We’d love this kind of event to spread across Canberra so people can simply walk or ride to get help rather than needing to head across town to fix something.”
While Sunday’s event is a one-off at this stage, the organisers are hoping to make the Hawker Community Repair Café a regular event.
“If people want something like this to be held regularly I’d encourage them to come along on Sunday and show their support,” says Jill.
Entry to the Hawker repair café is by gold coin donation. Proceeds from a sausage sizzle and coffee stall will go to the Hawker Men’s Shed and Softball ACT.
The organisers have plans in place to keep the event COVID-safe and maintain social distancing. They have asked that people only come if they are completely well and have not been to a COVID hotspot.
Volunteer COVID marshals will direct people around the venue and make sure spaces have the right number of people in them.
To find out exactly what can be repaired and get updates on the event follow the Hawker Community Repair Café on Facebook.
This article first appeared on Her Canberra.