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The Black Isle Repair Cafe celebrates its first birthday

The Black Isle Repair Cafe celebrated their first birthday with an extra special event on Saturday 24th June in Avoch Community Centre 1-4pm.

A committed group of volunteers, supported by the Black Isle Men’s ShedTransition Black Isle and the Highland Community Waste Partnership held their first ever repair cafe in Avoch a year ago and have been going from strength to strength ever since!

They’ve been popping up in various locations across the Black Isle each month, inviting residents to bring in items that need repaired including sewing, electrical and digital repairs as well as knife and tool sharpening, general repairs and bike repairs.

Their mission is to keep items in use and out of landfill, helping to contribute to a more circular economy which in turn helps to save money. Since starting, 210 repairs have been brought in, 137 of these have been fixed successfully with the remaining residents either being signposted to local professional repairers or given further information on where they can recycle the item.

The repair cafe celebration event on Saturday wasn't just about repair on the day, the skilled volunteers were there to help show folk how they could fix their own in the future as well so it’s was a great chance to learn a new skill at the same time. This event not only celebrated repair but all things reduce, reuse & recycle.

As well as the repair cafe itself, there were other stalls and activities for both kids and adults including crafts, printing, composting & more.

Other community groups were keen to get involved with the event and the Fortrose Guides were there with their Swish and Swap stall with pre-loved items and Avoch Primary showcased their fantastic uniform reuse initiative "Unicycle".

Julie Kennedy from Avoch Primary School’s uniform recycling initiative ‘Unicycle’ said: "The event was really productive with lots of school uniforms being shifted and we made some new contacts who couldn’t believe that it was all free!"

"We've also done a bit of joined up working with the sewing team who are turning some trousers into shorts".

Also joining in with the day was The Highland Council Waste Awareness Team, who were on hand to talk about all things waste related in the Highlands. 

Georgina Massouraki, Partnership Coordinator for the Highland Community Waste Partnership, said: "Repair cafes are a vital part of the circular economy, by helping to extend the life of the items we have, thus diverting them from landfill and also avoiding the environmental and carbon footprint, not to mention the cost, of buying something new. Indeed, 51% of bulky items sent to recycling centres in the UK could have been reused or repaired -what a waste!"

We’re delighted to be celebrating a year of waste reduction through the Black Isle Repair Café and hope that others are inspired by their achievements.

"We hope to see more people choosing repair going forward and would encourage anyone considering setting up a repair café to get in touch. We're keen to share our learning and increase access to repair opportunities across the Highlands.”

The volunteers bring a great variety of skills to the table and this Saturday they were presented with 38 repairs of various kinds including bikes, tools, electrical as well as sewing and textile repairs.  They successfully managed to repair 27 of the items on the day, with the remainder either being signposted to professional repairers or armed with further information on where they could recycle the item if it had reached the end of its life.

Rose Grant, TBI Trustee and Repair Cafe Spokesperson said: "We were delighted to be have been able to use the Repair Cafe’s 1st birthday celebrations as an opportunity to link up with other community groups and initiatives in the area and look forward to building on this in the future"

Around half of the people attending were new to the Black Isle Repair Cafe with many planning to return with their items for repair after the volunteers take a well-earned break over the summer!

If you’d like to take your items along for one of the volunteers to look at or you’d like to join the Black Isle Repair Cafe visit The Black Isle Repair Cafe.

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21 June 2023

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