Shropshire Star

Ellesmere's 'fixperts' get ready for the next repair cafe

Ellesmere's Repair Café will be open again on Saturday, with volunteer 'fixperts' doing their best to repair broken items, for free.

NORTH COPYRIGHT SHROPSHIRE STAR JAMIE RICKETTS 26/04/2021 - BUSINESS - Rod Evans from A Mere Cycle in Ellesmere - Managed to survive during lockdown..

The town hall is the venue for the event, between 1-4pm and members of the public are being encouraged to take along items or just pop in to sample tea and cake.

At least ten volunteer fixperts have been recruited in Ellesmere, with skills ranging from bike repairing, through sewing and furniture repairs to gluing and screwing.

Typical items brought to Repair Cafes which are held throughout the country, include electrical items, such as toasters and kettles, clothes, toys, ornaments and even some small items of furniture.

Geoff Ardill repairing a photo frame.

Organiser Amanda Weekes, said: “We are hoping our Café will help prevent items going to landfill or maybe can restore someone’s quirky heirloom. There is a lovely relaxed atmosphere at our cafes with time to chat to people and learn from the fixperts how they go about fixing things.”

"In addition to being able to get some well-loved but broken items repaired free of charge, there will be ample opportunity to taste delicious home-made cakes to go alongside a cuppa. Refreshments are also free of charge but donations are always welcome."

Among the volunteersis Rod Evans from the town's A Mere Cycle shop.

"Rod comes to the Town Hall equipped with a bike stand and tools ready to make minor repairs and adjustments to the cycles our Repair Café customers wheel through the door," Amanda said. "Checking and adjusting brakes and gears, tightening nuts to correct torque, changing pedals and seats and advising on general maintenance are amongst the tasks he can carry out on the spot.

"A keen cyclist himself, he is happy to chat to people and give advice and information on all aspects of cycling. Rod can also repair smaller wheels, down to 10”, for example on pushchairs and wheelchairs."

Amongst the Repair Café volunteers are several husband and wife teams including Andrew and Mary Thompson.

"Mary brings her hand-sewing skills to a variety of mending and alteration tasks while Andrew applies his workshop skills to repairing and renovating furniture. They both take items home with them on occasion in order to take the time necessary to do a good job," Amanda said.

Mary was not phased when local resident Ron Millman took a summer straw hat and a winter felt hat to the repair café in Ellesmere on the first Saturday in August because they were too big for him.

"Treasured gifts from his family, Ron wanted to wear them but they kept slipping. This was no problem for Mary as she dashed home, leaving Ron to enjoy tea/coffee and homemade cake and the company of other visitors. Promptly Mary returned with some felt she had acquired for a project and deftly attached it to the inside of the hats to reduce the circumference and ensure a comfortable and stylish fit."

David Brown is a key steering group member who also fixes a range of electrical and mechanical problems whilst his wife Angela Brown triages the customer requests and helps the afternoons run smoothly.

Multi-skilled Geoff Ardill tackles a wide range of repairs and Sue Ardill helps with the efficient processing of customer requests at the reception desk.

Amanda herself deals with the Repair Café administration whilst husband Alec Weekes does the Portable Appliance Testing on the equipment bought with a generous donation from the League of Friends community fund.

All appliances used and repaired during sessions must by law be tested for safety.

Amanda said that the repair side of the afternoon is just half of what happens.

"The cafe is just as important, and that is managed by Ewan Williams and a rota of volunteers. Customers waiting for their turn at the repair tables can sit and enjoy a cup of tea or coffee and the delicious homemade cakes and biscuits baked by the volunteers. It is also a ‘destination’ for those who, without an item needing repair, come along to chat with friends and enjoy the atmosphere."

Ellesmere's Mayor, Councillor Anne Wignall praised the Repair Cafe.

"All these people and many more go out of their way to make Ellesmere Repair Café a useful and enjoyable addition to the Ellesmere community," she said.

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