Repair Cafe


Volunteer fixes a bike at Repair Cafe Southampton

Special Series: Fast Forward

Community Recycling

By Gloria Khamkar

We use lots of items in our daily lives. We use them and then throw them away, or perhaps recycle them when they wear out or get damaged.

Bicycle repair

Bicycle repair

Then again, some of us prefer to repair and re-use such items to help save the environment. Repair Cafés around the world aim to keep everyday items away from landfill, save resources, give people the opportunity to learn new skills and build community.

This story is about a Repair Café in the city of Southampton, in the UK. Southampton Repair Café runs on the first Saturday of every month, organized by a local community organization Transition Southampton, a small group of people passionate about making a difference in the city, who support community-led responses to climate change that create a better place for people now and in the future.


Since the group’s launch in November 2008, Transition Southampton has expanded its activities to include a variety of projects, events, talks and skill swaps to contribute to better lives for people in Southampton. Southampton Repair Café is one such initiative.

repairers-doing-computer-and-electrical-workFor Southampton Repair Café, sharing skills is as important as saving items from the bin. It encourages community members to learn how to repair a variety of items. At the Repair Café in this audio story, local people repair small electrical items, computers, wooden furniture, jewellery and bicycles, and clothing in need of a stitch. This initiative has been receiving a positive response from the local community.

Fast Forward: Stories of Challenge & Change is produced with the generous support of the Government of Canada, the Social Justice Fund of Unifor and the Community Radio Fund of Canada. Gloria Khamkar is an independent radio producer based in Southampton. All photos by Amol Khamkar. “Plastic Mass Production Blues” written and performed by Dan Weisenberger. Thanks to Roger Dumas for his wonderful human brain ‘sonifications’, one of which appears in Fast Forward intros/extros. For more information about Roger’s Pieces of Mind CD, go here.