Daylesford Repair Cafe arming community with skills to repair broken items

DAYLESFORD Repair Cafe is set to return this February with a focus on engaging young people.

Cafe-goers will be able to snack on baked goods made by Daylesford College’s VCAL students while their items are repaired by the cafe’s ‘fixers’. 

This month’s cafe has an emphasis on empowering young people by giving them the skills to repair any items laying around their house, while also giving them a platform to share their own repair skills with the community.

Vice Principal Penny Ellis said all VCAL students were required to do a VET subject so attending the session linked in with the students’ studies around sustainability, engaging with community and hands-on learning.

SKILL SHARING: Bicycle fixer Finn Ryan with Daylesford College students Josh Barry, Sophie Jones, Alkira Cox, Katie Dwyer, Aaron Orr, Adam Hartup, Alicia Ray and Nathan Sutton. Photo: Brendan McCarthy

SKILL SHARING: Bicycle fixer Finn Ryan with Daylesford College students Josh Barry, Sophie Jones, Alkira Cox, Katie Dwyer, Aaron Orr, Adam Hartup, Alicia Ray and Nathan Sutton. Photo: Brendan McCarthy

For 16-year-old Josh Barry, the idea of skill sharing links in with his desire to be as sustainable as possible.

“It is helping the environment by teaching people to reuse and recycle,” he said.

Mr Barry enjoys working with his hands and does a lot of work around his house. He also visits the tip to find bikes to take home, fix up and sell.

“Fixing things is something to do, but I am also an artist. I like to sculpt – I find miscellaneous metals and weld them together.”

He said learning the skills to fix items would be helpful throughout his life and hoped that it would assist him in moving into the workforce in future.

Though there is a particular focus on engaging students with the temporary cafe location at the school, all members of the community are welcome to attend.

There will be fixers to assist with mending items of clothing, including school uniforms, and to repair other school equipment. 

A bike repairman will be in attendance to teach bicycle maintenance and repairs, including how to fix punctures and ensure brakes and gears are working well.

Other household and garden items as well as knife and tool sharpening will also be on offer.

More than 60 items have been repaired during the first three sessions of the Daylesford Repair Cafe.

At the October, November and January sessions, 227kg of goods have been given a new lease on life, and therefore diverted from landfill.

Electrical items like whipper snippers, chain saws, blenders, toasters, lawn mowers and vacuum cleaners have been repaired, as have clothing items and bicycles. 

Entry to the Repair Cafe is a gold coin donation, with all repairs being undertaken by skilled local fixers for free with the aim to reduce waste, consumption of resources, carbon emissions and to minimise the effects of climate change.

Cafe-goers learn new skills while their items are being repaired, with fixers skilled in mechanical, electrical, knife and tool sharpening, bike maintenance and sewing on hand to answer any questions.

Volunteer fixers are always welcomed.

The Daylesford Repair Cafe is an opportunity to discover new interests, meet new people and increase engagement in the community.

The repair cafe will take place on February 17 at The Arc, next to Daylesford College, from 1 to 4pm. 

The following cafe will take place back at the usual Victoria Park venue on March 17.