EcoArt Repair Café Launches to Tackle Waste and Build Community in Kirkcudbright

The EcoArt Repair Café launched with a bang in March, the first edition of a monthly café that will be hosted at EcoArt Studios in Kirkcudbright.

As awareness of sustainability issues grows, more and more people are looking for ways to reduce waste and save money at home. The Repair Café invites people to bring damaged or broken household goods, clothes, small electricals and more to the EcoArt Studio, where experienced volunteers demonstrate the skills needed to fix them.

The Repair Café was made possible by seed funding from the D&G Climate Hub, which is being delivered by the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire UNESCO Biosphere for the whole of Dumfries and Galloway. The D&G Hub is part of the Scottish Government’s programme to establish a national network of community hubs that will take local action on climate change.

Speaking about the launch, the GSA Biosphere’s Climate Officer (West), Sarah Thomas, said, “So many of us have a mind to mend but perhaps lack the time and/or knowledge to do it. Repair Cafés carve out the time and offer the know-how to build confidence and capacity within the community to reuse and repair, saving items from landfill and reducing our carbon emissions. They are springing up across the UK, and Dumfries and Galloway is no exception! We are incredibly proud to be able to support local initiatives thanks to the Scottish Government’s Let’s Do Net Zero campaign.”

The launch on 2 nd March, co-ordinated by Nupur Farley, saw volunteers working on bicycles, e-bikes, mechanics, electronics, clothes, jewellery, and small wooden items. More than fifty people attended and well over half of all items were repaired on the day; only four items were categorised as unrepairable. Notably, this was a skill share event, rather than a repair service; volunteers show attendees how to fix the items they have brought, building confidence and capacity and making it possible for techniques to be shared even further afield. The café is free but donations for parts are much appreciated. All volunteers hail from Kirkcudbright and Palnackie and have committed to returning next month, when they will be joined by a new volunteer focussing on computer repairs.

A driving force behind the Repair Café was EcoArt CEO Rose Petal Hall, and her vision for an easily accessible site where people could make social connections while being part of a cooperative drive to repair, reuse and recycle.

Commenting on the event, Rose Hall said, “There was an amazing buzz about it, and a sense of community. It exceeded my expectations, not least the number of people through the door. The volunteers were brilliant. People are still talking about it.”

Organisers are keen to make people aware that the EcoArt Studio has lots of activities, classes, and projects – there’s always something going on, of which the Repair Café is only one initiative. It is designed to be a warm and welcoming space full of everything you’ll need to make and mend, and the kettle is always on. Their full programme of workshops is available on their website www.ecoartcharity.org. Repair Café will take place 11am-1pm on the first Saturday of every month at 1 Castle Street, Kirkcudbright.

The D&G Climate Hub has awarded more than £22,000 in funding to over 30 projects since it started work in late 2023. Sarah Thomas covers the Stewartry and Kirkcudbrightshire, while Steven Clark is Climate Officer for D&G East, covering Annan, Eskdale, and Dumfries. For more information on opportunities to get involved, please visit www.gsabiosphere.org.uk or email [email protected].