The not for profit, volunteer run, Community
Radio Station from Dorchester, covering Central-Southern Dorset

The not for profit, volunteer run, Community
Radio Station from Dorchester, covering Central-Southern Dorset

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The Community Radio Station covering Central-Southern Dorset, run by volunteers and not-for-profit

Repair Café Weymouth triumph in national Good Neighbour Awards

There were nearly 2000 nominations for nextdoor.co.uk’s national 2024 Good Neighbour Awards. Repair Cafe Weymouth is one of two Community Groups to be awarded the title of Community Group of the Year.

The press release from nextdoor.co.uk reads as follows:

This Jurassic Coast Repair Cafe has helped to fix 2,500 items… including a triceratops toy

Volunteers at Repair Café Weymouth have fixed everything from sentimental family treasures, to lightsabres, and even a ride-on triceratops, in true Jurassic Coast Fashion. The cafe has won Community Group of the Year at Nextdoor’s Good Neighbour Awards 2024.

Ros Dean started the volunteer-run Repair Café in 2019, not long after moving to the area. She’d taken inspiration from Martine Postma, the Dutch environmentalist behind the global movement, which started in Amsterdam in 2009. Having lived in the Netherlands herself, Ros was inspired by the Dutch approach to sustainability and wanted to share this with her Weymouth community.

Keen to get involved with community initiatives, Ros posted a suggestion for a Repair Café on Nextdoor hoping someone else would take the idea and run with it. After receiving an overwhelming amount of support from her community, she realised that her background in marketing and engineering made her the perfect person for the job, so she arranged a meeting at a local pub one Saturday morning.

Over 40 potential volunteers showed up, excited to be a part of the Repair Café initiative, and five years on, it’s just been declared the UK’s Community Group of the Year in community platform, Nextdoor’s, annual Good Neighbourhood Awards.

There are no queues at the Repair Café, with a numbered ticketing system in place to save people waiting on their feet. Customers are given repair forms along with their tickets, and take a seat at a table, where a meet-and-greet volunteer will join them and assist them on filling out their form with details of what repairs are required.

Many of Repair Café Weymouth’s volunteers and customers come through posts on community platforms, such as Nextdoor, where Ros has felt extremely supported by those around her. She said: “I use Nextdoor a lot. It used to be just me posting and replying to people on there, recommending the Repair Café to people looking to get something fixed, but now it’s other people as well.”

Since it started, the volunteers at Repair Café Weymouth have fixed around 2,500 items, making it one of the biggest in the UK, with many of those being from repeat visitors. Items range from sentimental family treasures, to toy robots, lightsabres, and even a ride-on animatronic triceratops called Kota..

Ros is amazed by what the Repair Café’s volunteers can do, from their “electronic whizzes” to gluing experts whose repairs look invisible. One of the gluing repairs Ros remembers fondly is that of a music box that someone’s father had brought back from a trip to Asia in the 50s or 60s. Ros said: “It was an Ivory rickshaw with turning wheels, that had characters and fitting that needed regluing. She hadn’t heard it play in years, I remember hearing a tremor in her voice when it played again.”

There is no charge for repairs, just a request for a donation which goes to a local charity chosen by volunteers at their annual meeting. So far, they have supported the likes of a local veteran’s hub and a social supermarket in the area. Ros added: “We don’t do it for the money, we do it because we can, and we love to see how happy people are. Around 13 million items that could have been recycled go to waste every year in the UK. We have got to stop throwing things away and make it the norm to buy repaired and reused goods.”

Repair Café Weymouth events are on the second Saturday of every month from 10:30 to 12:30 at the Top Club, Louviers Road, Weymouth DT3 6AY. They are one of over 3000 Repair Cafes throughout the world. You can find your nearest one here: www.repaircafe.org/en/visit.

Follow Repair Café Weymouth on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RepairCafeWeymouth

Website: https://repaircafeweymouth.org/

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