The Splott repair café in full flow

Splott repair café saves people money and could improve your mental health

Boosted by the popularity of TV’s The Repair Shop, volunteers will try to fix just about anything

SINCE the first repair cafe in Wales opened in 2017, the idea has expanded to 25 locations where people can take their broken items to be fixed for free.

Repair Café Wales began with just a single event in Cardiff but, helped by the success of the BBC’s Repair Shop, and driven by the cost-of-living crisis, it has gone from strength to strength.

The not-for-profit organisation has proved popular as a community hub, where people can come together for a morning of socialising and to help one another.

A bike being fixed during a Splott repair café session

Splott’s repair café runs on the second Saturday of every month at the Oasis Centre and has been well received by users.

Gareth Kitchen, who runs the repair café in Splott, said: “We’re a voluntary organisation helping people to get their items fixed for free rather than them going to landfill.

“At our monthly events, the community can come together so we can help save people money, stop waste and empower people through learning to repair items rather than disposing of them.”

With the cost-of-living crisis having an impact on people’s finances, the repair café has been crucial for some as they look to save every penny.

“We’re concentrating on fixing things that might otherwise go to landfill for whatever reason. I think this is especially important where somebody can’t afford to get something fixed,” he said.

“I am particularly happy that we are able to provide this service in a deprived area and to the day-to-day users of the centre for whom a fixed item makes a difference.

“The money saved by not having to buy something really makes a difference to their personal finances and ability to access basics that we so often take for granted like food, warmth, clothes and housing.”

One of the Splott Repair Cafe volunteers in action

Gareth is helped by a group of volunteers who also benefit — by giving back to their community.

“Over many years, I have had countless conversations with local people and volunteers who have been adamant about expressing how valuable it is to them,” added Gareth.

“Volunteers are often individuals who have their own personal battles and find the sense of community and personal interaction they gain from the events invaluable for their mental health.

“I can say that personally, having the chance to run the repair cafe has hugely benefitted me in numerous ways.”

Gareth and his team will try to fix almost anything that comes their way, however there is one item they stay well away from.

“I tend to try and fix everything except microwaves because of the danger of radiation. Basically, if you can get it to us, and it’s not a microwave, we’ll have a look at it.”

  • The Splott Repair Café is next open on Saturday February 11 from 10am to 1pm. It can be found in the Splott Methodist Church Hall at the rear of the Oasis Centre.