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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One Planet York: A liveable city

News of One Planet York’s annual gathering, Tuesday 13 June 2017.

Copied from their information:

This year’s theme is One Planet York: A liveable city and our keynote speaker, Oberbürgermeister(Mayor) Markus Lewe from York’s twin city of Münster, Germany is confirmed.  In 2004, Münster was voted the most liveable city in the world.

We are proud to be part of June’s York Festival of Ideas – the largest free festival in the UK.  Venue is the spectacular Ron Cooke Hub, University of York.   FREE early booking is advised (booking link on invite).

The invite includes an outline programme PLUS a call out to OPY partner organisations and businesses to be part in the associated One Planet York Expo’ – a unique opportunity to showcase your organisation’s commitments, actions and plans towards a more sustainable, resilient and collaborative ‘One Planet’ future.

If you’re working to deliver a vibrant local economy, stronger communities or a more sustainable way of life we’d love to hear from you. Last year 29 local organisations and businesses showcased their work and feedback was excellent.   You’ll find the Expo’ coordinator contact details in the invite.

One Planet York is currently seeking event sponsors.  Contact Paul McCabe using the contact details below.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Paul McCabe | One Planet York

01904 554527 |

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Recruits sign up for Repair Cafe

We’ve had a great response to our call for volunteers for our first Repair Café on 23  April at Clements Hall in York.

We’ve had offers of help from bike repairers, handymen, jewellery menders and people who work with textiles, as well as a couple of volunteers that do electronics, so it’s looking as if we’ll be able to tackle most things. However, if you’ve got suitable skills – it would still be good to have another general repairer – please get in contact.

Repair cafe toaster (2)

What we’d also really like is people to bake cakes and cookies for the café (this will help bring in revenue if we want to do another Repair Café) and help out in the kitchen, clearing up or doing other duties. So whether your preference is for tray bakes or tea-making, all support is appreciated.

Planet South Bank has signed up to the Repair Café network to deliver this and future events. The movement began in the Netherlands but it’s popular all over the world now, and places in the UK have started doing them, too. Check out the Malvern Hills Repair Cafe to see how successful they’ve been – could we achieve this in York? (It’s got a great video about it, too.)

Kate Lock from Planet South Bank (and Glass Half Full) will be talking about the York Repair Cafe at the One Planet York Mingle on Wednesday 12 April at The Winning Post on Bishopthorpe Road. Come along and find out more – not just about our event but lots of other waste-themed activities happening across the city.

Please share our flyer for the repair cafe event and get in contact via if you’d like to be involved.

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Like mending stuff? Join the Repair Cafe team! And save the date! Sunday 23 April 2017

Volunteers needed to help fix items for our first repair café, on Sunday 23 April at Clements Hall, York.

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Can you help mend furniture, household items, electronic goods, textiles, bikes, toys, jewellery, accessories or electrical gadgets?

We are looking for handy helpers to join our team of experienced fixers for a repair café. Repair cafes are already big in the Netherlands and now community groups like Planet South Bank are starting them in the UK.

How do they work? People bring their broken stuff and volunteers mend them. It prevents waste, brings trusty items back into use, you pick up tips – and we all get to know each other, drink tea and eat cake!

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If you can help out – or if you have stuff that needs fixing – email by 17 April, message us on our Facebook page or leave your details with Martin or Dan at Pextons on Bishopthorpe Road.

Don’t forget to say what skills/experience you have, whether you have tools, or what it is you need mending.

Items must be legal, safe and suitable for all ages, no electricals or livestock – and be nice! If you don’t get rid of all it, remember to donate suitable items to local charity shops or recycle afterwards.

Funded by York Community Recycling Fund.




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Funding award: Repair Cafe and Street Re-Cycle

We are delighted to announce that Planet South Bank has awarded funding to deliver a programme of waste events over the summer by City of York Council’s Community Recycling Fund. See below for ways to get involved!

Planet South Bank is one of 18 York-based groups to receive funding from the £30,000 fund, which is to encourage recycling and reuse. We have been awarded £976 in response to our bid to run a repair café, skills workshops and our annual Street Re-Cycle event in the South Bank area of York.

The repair café will be on Sunday 23 April 2.00-5.00pm at Clements Hall, Nunthorpe Road, York. This will consist of several ‘stations’ that will offer different types of repairs, covering items such as bikes, basic electricals, textiles, furniture, toys and general household items. Café style refreshments will be available – we’ll need lots of willing Planet South Bank volunteers to help with that, and with organisation on the day.

We’re also planning to run several separate skills workshops (dates tbc). These would be small-scale events lead by an experienced person to teach skills needed for restoring broken or damaged items. Workshops in darning/sewing, basic electricals and furniture restoration are planned. We’re also looking at doing a hands-on composting workshop in our Planet South Bank community garden.

Finally, our popular Planet South Bank Street Re-Cycle event is set to return on Sunday 17 September (12.00-4.00pm). This encourages local residents to display items they wish to get rid of on their front lawns or yards. Participating households are indicated on a map, available online and in printed format, and people take part by following a trail. It’s always great fun and a lovely way to get acquainted with people in the neighbourhood – not to mention rehoming your unwanted stuff!

Planet South Bank will be at a ‘Waste Not’ meeting to plan and organise the events at the Angel on the Green on Monday 13 March 7.00pm. All are invited to the meeting, and we would especially like to hear from crafters, makers and menders willing to share their skills either to run workshops or to provide expertise for the repair café.

If you can’t make the meeting but would like to be involved, please email

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Full bins, empty bellies, lonely lives

Not a Planet South Bank event, but might be of interest to you?
Image result for full bins empty bellies lonely livesThere is to be a screening of the film, Full Bins, Empty Bellies, Lonely Lives on 17 March, at the University of York.
The film explores three themes: food waste, food poverty/insecurity, and loneliness. It also looks at how these three issues can be, and are being tackled.
There will be a panel of guests talking after the film, and then the floor will be free to ask questions about the topics raised in the film. The guests are as follows:
Natalie Bennett, the former Leader of the Green Party who features in the film. She is also the Green Party candidate for Sheffield Central.
Jess Causby, a volunteer at Yourcafé, the local branch of the Real Junk Food Project, which is a worldwide group/collective who all work to reduce food waste by making lovely, tasty, healthy food (which is also cheap!) out of items that would have otherwise just gone in the bin.
Laura Chalmers, the project manager of the York Foodbanks, which handed out over 3,000 food parcels last year (
Donations will be taken for the York Foodbanks.
The film is at 18:00 in P/L/002, University of York, on  17 March, and free tickets are available on Eventbrite. (To find the venue, type P/L/002 into the Room Code Search at
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Pruning workshop, Scarcroft Orchard on the Green

A unique learning opportunity on Sunday February 12th, 2.30-4.o0pm

PRUNING WORKSHOP: Come and learn how to prune apples and pears for vigorous fruiting and healthy trees.

Image result for pruningTaught by Laura Potts and Tony Chalcraft.

Bring sharp secateurs, loppers or a pruning saw if you have one.

Pay what you can or what you feel; all donations to St Nicks Environment Centre.

All welcome!

Limited number of workshop places: please contact Laura on

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