I am Co-founder and Director of Repair Cafe Wales, a repair and reuse organisation that exists to open and support repair cafés across Wales. Repair cafés are pop up events where volunteers fix items for free for local residents that would otherwise be thrown away. These events teach repairing skills to visitors, and act as a community hub and exchange for environmental information and tips.
The demand for repair cafés across Wales has resulted in us expanding our operations from a single repair café in 2017, to a pan-Wales network of 35 repair cafés, and a constituted organisation with 8 Board Directors and a Project Manager.
We continue to expand to improve on the mitigation of climate change through repair, and to promote a societal shift to a ‘repair mindset’ – promoting repairing as a right, a skill, and a way of thinking.
Why are you drawn to this area of work?
My passion for the health of our environment, an inclusive environment, where people can feel welcome, that they are valuable to society, and the belief that each and every person can contribute their own unique set of skills in any given situation, is what draws me to this area of work.
Throughout my time with Repair Cafe Wales, I have worked with some of the most affluent, and some of the most deprived areas around Wales, and in each case, the motivation to enhance their environment, reduce waste going to landfill, build resilience and strengthen their communities, is evident. In many cases, all that is needed to transform this motivation into reality, is the practical knowledge to begin making positive change.
My role, is to support communities to enable that positive change. I have used my 20+ years’ business management experience as an Executive Assistant to oversee the repair café events, our repair café organisers and volunteers, implementing processes and systems, to break down any barriers to opening a community repair café in Wales. Using these skills, I have project managed the expansion of Repair Cafe Wales over 4 years, from 1 repair café location to 35 across the country.
What is your vision of your region in 2050?
Repair Cafe Wales envisages a society empowered to work together to reduce waste, share skills, and strengthen our communities.
We believe the way to achieve our vision is in collaboration with others. Practical solutions need to be based on integrated approaches that achieve environmental, social, and economic benefits simultaneously.