Repair Café returns!


Following our successful first Repair Café in April, Planet South Bank is putting on another event on Saturday 21 October (10.00am-1.00pm) at Clements Hall in York.

The date falls in International Repair Café Week 2017 (14-22 October) when communities around the world will be organising similar events. There are now over 1,300 Repair Cafes operating globally, with 92 in the UK.

Monitoring by the Repair Café International Foundation shows that, in the past year, approximately 250,000 kilos of waste were saved collectively and that the most popular items for fixing were bicycles, vacuum cleaners and kettles.

Our experience from our April event confirms the popularity of small electrical items; chairs, lamps, clocks, jewellery and textiles were other popular items brought in for repair. Overall, we managed to repair 60 items, with only five items found to be not fixable at all.

As before, we will be relying on volunteer experts to do the repairing, and would like to hear from anyone with appropriate skills  to help us. We have got some volunteers already, but could do with more to help with electricals and electronics (computers, DVD/CD players, etc), as well as general repairs (eg furniture), clothing and accessories. To volunteer, contact

Once again we will be able to offer bicycle repairs, thanks to the team at Ey-Up Cycling, so if your bike needs mending, please bring it along.

bikes 1

If you have anything in particular that you want fixing, it is helpful (but not essential) to let us know in advance – it gives our repair team a better idea of what to bring. Please bear in mind that our repairers cannot take on very lengthy or complicated repair jobs at the café, as this wouldn’t be fair on others waiting. If we can’t provide help on the day, the repairers will often suggest alternatives.

There is, of course, some waiting at the event – and that’s what the café bit is about! Visitors are given a number on entry by our friendly receptionists, and while you wait your turn there’s a chance to have coffee and cake and talk to other people. We’ll also provide colouring materials to keep children occupied.

If you are in to home baking and would like to support this entirely volunteer-run event, we would be very pleased to receive donations of cakes, buns, scones or pastries. Last time, some amazing cakes were donated  but we were unable to cater for people with allergies, so any gluten-free, nut-free or dairy-free options would be especially welcome.


The Repair Café will open at 10.00am and finish at 1.00pm, allowing us time to clear up and get ready for our Recycling Talk at 2.00pm. This will include presentations by Terracycle and i am reusable and will, we  hope, be the start of an initiative/pilot for greater plastics recycling in this area. It is open to all and we are particularly keen for local traders to get involved – if you can’t come on Saturday (we know you’re probably busy trading!) a follow up event will be held to get your views.

The best way to get updates on the Repair Cafe is to join the Facebook event for it; but we will post further information on our website too. You can also follow us on Twitter @YorkPlanetSBank


Venue: Clements Hall, Nunthorpe Road, York YO23 1BW (opposite Scarcroft School). Please attend on foot or by public transport

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Street Re:Cycle is biggest one yet!

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Planet South Bank’s Street Re:Cycle on Sunday 17 September was its most popular yet.

Thirty one households took part in the South Bank-wide event, which ran from 11.00am until 3.00pm (although most packed up at 2.00pm when a heavy downpour commenced).

The event, which took place in front gardens and yards (and some back yards) in York streets from Clementhorpe to the Knavemire, saw local people putting out their unwanted belongings and either selling, giving them away or collecting for charities.

Some even offered food to tempt the “punters”, with fresh banana bread and buns on offer, while free cooking apples were given away courtesy of Abundance and Edible York.

This year a new dimension was added to the event  with the services of GoodGym York, who ran around between the participating households, acting both as messengers and couriers for those who wanted heavy or bulky goods carrying home.

While the overcast weather proved a dampener towards the end of the event and footfall was variable, a number of those that responded to the feedback survey said they particularly enjoyed the neighbourliness it encouraged.

“Kids on our street entertaining themselves and visiting each others’ stalls” wrote one respondent, while another commented it had been useful “for the fun and community”.

While the number of participating houses was up this year, the event still needs greater take up to really prove successful and targeted promotion in participating streets/areas would be beneficial.

The event was widely publicised with paid promotion on Facebook, over 2,000 postcards delivered door to door,  promotion on Twitter, posters in shops and on noticeboards, a listing in the Clements Hall newsletter (also hand delivered to local households), promotion at the local ward committee meeting and by Nunnery Lane Residents Association and write ups in The Press and York Mix. Some respondents still felt the event needed wider advertising, however.

Next year we can look at promotion in City of York Council newsletter and will seek to get more support from the wider One Planet York network – hopefully other parts of York might consider doing it, too!

York is twinned with Munster and one respondent commented that, in Munster, people putting their unwanted stuff outside their houses happens regularly, once a month on Sunday mornings. Perhaps we can learn lessons from our European twinned city!

Planet South Bank would like to thank everyone that took part with such gusto. If all those who took part this year can encourage one or two more households on their street to do it as well next year (and we get some sun) it could be a very impactful event.

In the meantime, we feel pleased that we are making good strides in community building and recycling!


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South Bank gets into shape for big Street Re:Cycle

Press release for immediate release:  12.09.2017


Streets in the South Bank area of York will be alive with community activity this Sunday when the fourth annual Street Re:Cycle event gets under way.

To date, 29 households have signed up to take part in the event – a community-wide “yard sale”, organised by voluntary group Planet South Bank – which is supported this year by GoodGym (pictured).


GoodGym limbering up for the Street Re:Cycle event (photo credit: Kate Lock)

The Street Re:Cycle, which gives people the chance to get rid of unwanted possessions, as well as to pick up previously owned items that others no longer want, is designed to reduce waste, promote reuse and encourage neighbourliness.

The event takes place from people’s front (and some back) yards on Sunday 17 September from 11.00am to 3.00pm across the wider South Bank area of York.

A map and list showing participating households can be viewed on the Planet South Bank website and Facebook page, with printed copies available from Sainsburys on Bishopthorpe Road. The hand-drawn map has been produced by artisan and Street Re:Cycle organiser Pie Waller.

cropped map

Map and list of participating households (drawn by Pie Waller)

The GoodGym team will be stationed at Cherry Tree Corner, at the intersection of Bishopthorpe Road and Scarcroft Road, and its members – who combine running with good deeds in the form of energetic voluntary work – will be available to help out, run errands and act as “porters”, carrying items home for people (12.00-3.00pm).

“This is the first time we’ve done it with GoodGym, and I hope there will be enough work to keep them active, so do use their services!” said Planet South Bank organiser Kate Lock.

“It’s a great opportunity to have a clear out now that the summer’s over. It’s not a commercial event – it’s much more about getting to know other local people and sharing things. Many people simply give away their stuff away or collect for charity.

“At the end of the day it’s about preventing items going to landfill and prolonging their usefulness for as long as possible. We don’t always need to get brand new stuff.”

The group encourages householders to donate items that are not rehomed to charity shops, or to recycle or repair as appropriate. All participants are responsible for clearing up afterwards and keeping the area tidy.

The Planet South Bank group, which was formed in 2010, has this year been given some funding by City of York Council’s Community Waste Fund to run a series of recycling-themed events, of which the Street Re:Cycle is one. The group has also run a successful Repair Café and clothes mending workshop and will be running another Repair Café at Clements Hall on 21 October (10.00am-1.00pm) followed by a recycling presentation and talk.

To find out more, and view the list of streets and map, go to or

GoodGym can be contacted for assistance on the day on 07473 933335.

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Good Gym to help out with South Bank Street Re:Cycle

The good folk at Good Gym York will be helping out with the Street Re:Cycle event on 17 September. The group, which combines running with doing all sorts of good deeds for the community and individuals, will be on hand to carry items for people and other errands involved with the event.

They will be stationed at Cherry Tree Corner at the junction between Scarcroft Road and Bishopthorpe Road from 12.00 noon – 3.00pm. If you would like help on the day (between those times) call Good Gym on 07473 933335.

Get the full details of the South Bank Street Re:Cycle event here.

Good GymSome of the Good Gym team, pictured here tidying the Planet South Bank community garden at St Clements Church for our recent Open Garden event

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Sort out your stuff for the great South Bank Street Re:Cycle!

20160918_102613009_iOS (2)Mark your calendar now for the Planet South Bank Street Re: Cycle, which returns again on Sunday 17 September (11.00am-3.00pm)

Now in its fourth year of running, the annual recycling event is a brilliant way of getting rid of stuff you no longer want – and getting stuff from other people that they don’t want, but you do!

It’s also a fantastic way to meet the neighbours and other local people and spend time getting to know them better, which is the lifeblood of community.

The way it works is easy:

  1.  Start sorting out your unwanted possessions now, and keep them safe ready for the big day. If you’ve got a shed, garage, bedroom or cupboard to clear out, now’s the time to do it!
  2. Contact us at by 10 September to let us know you are taking part, and we will include you on the map of participating households. This will be made available on our website, on our Facebook page and in shops in the South Bank area of York. (You don’t need to be on the map to take part, but it helps people to find you if you are.)
  3. Tell your friends and neighbours about the event and encourage them to do the same – the more folk take part, the more fun it is.
  4. On 17 September: set out your stuff by 11.00am on your front lawn or in your front yard (please don’t put create obstructions/trip hazards on the pavement) and be ready to engage with passers by.
    NB: We are trying to find a solution for people living in terraced properties that open on to the street – if there is sufficient interest, we will look at hiring a shared space, so do tell us if you would like to do this.
  5. Remember the objective is to rehome useful stuff and prevent items going to landfill, which boosts the circular economy, keeping materials in the system rather than making/buying new.  But it’s also about being friendly and helping each other out and making new connections. Have a jar for coins: people are mostly happy to give away their unwanted items but if people offer to pay you, it’s nice to collect for a local charity.
  6. If you don’t get rid of everything,  clean up and take the things you didn’t rehome to a charity shop or recycle them. Or …
  7. If they need mending, hang on to them again for our next Repair Café on Saturday 21 October at Clements Hall (10.00am-1.00pm) – details to follow soon!

This lady was going to take these juggling balls to children in Africa.


There are all sorts of unexpected finds to be had …


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Sew easy: clothes mending workshop, 14 June 2017

Following on from our successful Repair Café, the next Planet South Bank repair-themed event will be a skills workshop teaching basic clothes mending.

In these days of “disposable fashion”, clothes all too often get thrown out or replaced when they still have plenty of wear left with a simple mend.

If you want to know how to darn a sock, mend holes in trouser pockets, patch jeans, sew on buttons, secure a hem or do simple sewing, come to our workshop at the Art Room at Clements Hall on Wednesday 14 June 7.00-9.00pm.

Please bring with your one or more items that you would like to learn how to mend and our instructors Deborah New and Hermione Crowe will help to get you started as well as giving  demonstrations and sharing their knowledge.

The workshop costs £5 and includes refreshments. Numbers are limited; if you would like to attend please email



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Visitors flock to York’s first Repair Café

Almost 100 people visited York’s first Repair Café and more than 60 items were mended at the event held by Planet South Bank at Clements Hall on Sunday 23 April.

The repair café, which had ‘stations’ fixing small appliances, electronics, furniture, textiles and clothing, jewellery and bikes, was run by 26 volunteers from the local community and offered repairs free of charge for items that could be fixed.

The three-hour event saw a steady stream of visitors, who enjoyed homemade and donated cakes while they waited for their turn to see the repairers.


Items that were brought included lamps, CD players, kettles, clocks, chairs, speakers, bikes, sweaters, blankets, necklaces and earrings. Among the more challenging items for the repair team were a headless doll, a lawnmower and a laptop, but only six items proved completely unfixable.

Response to the repair café was overwhelmingly positive, with visitors praising the hard-working repairers and friendly service.

“ Brilliant – I got three much-loved items repaired”, “without your help my pushchair would have been landfill”, “wonderful fixers and helpers” and “nothing is a lost cause” were some of the comments received in feedback, while the main complaint was that the event was not already weekly.

electronics table

“One lady retrieved two lamps that she had actually thrown in the trash, cleaned them off and brought them to us and was thrilled to bits that she got them both fixed,” said organiser Kate Lock.

“We also fixed a child’s bike that had been found in a skip. It is really satisfying to know that we’ve saved things from being chucked away and given them a new lease of life.”

Councillor Andrew Waller, City of York Council Executive Member for the Environment, attended the event, bringing along a tie signed by Jon Snow for a spot repair.

“It’s been a really great buzz. Opportunities like this are a really good way to try and get us away from the disposable, throwaway society,” he said.

“I think people are more aware of the problems caused by landfill and sending stuff away, so the more that we can get used to bringing things in to repair, getting more life out of them, then the more money we’ll save in the long run.

“It’s been a really good trial and from what I’ve seen today there’s certainly been a lot of demand for it.”

Dave n Martin

Planet Southbank received funding to run the repair cafe and other waste-themed events from York Community Recycling Fund and Kate Lock hopes that Sunday’s successful pilot will inspire other groups to put on similar events in other parts of York.

“We’ve shown it’s doable, and viable and there’s a clear need for it and interest in it. I think we will do another one – the proceeds from the café can seed the next event. I can also see the potential for building up the repair crew we’ve established and sending them out to venues in other parts of the city, if groups and venues are willing to host.

“We are certainly happy to share our learning. We joined the international Repair Café Foundation and there’s a lot of help out there to do these things. It’s already very big in The Netherlands, where it started, and it seems to be growing all over the world, including in the UK.”

Kate and the Planet Southbank team were supported by members of Glass Half Full, another voluntary group, as well as local businesses, tradespeople, makers, menders, hobbyists and professionals.

“There’s been fantastic support across the board, from donations of cakes from local cafes and shops to skilled tradesmen giving their time voluntarily.

“One of the best things has been the range of people that have been involved or come along, and the fantastic conversations and connections we’ve made.

“That’s what community spirit is all about and I think we discovered there’s a lot of it around today.”

If you would like to volunteer for a future York Repair Café, email:


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