In the “Meet our Starters” series we invite people who start new ideas in their communities to share their stories with the ChangeX community: What gets them excited about an idea, how are they hoping it will benefit the community, how do they make it happen. This article comes from Jim Armour, who is bringing the first Repair Café to the Burren and to County Clare.
Fixing things between cheese and coffee
I’ve been an engineer for many years. Now, with a bit of spare time, I’d like to use that knowledge and experience to help other people understand how things work and how to keep them working for a while longer. The Repair Café is the perfect opportunity for me to do that in my community in Ennistimon, Co. Clare.
There are only two active Repair Cafés that I know of in the whole of the republic. This has to change.
There are at least two aspects to what a Repair Café does (and maybe many more that I will discover further down the line). The first is to keep stuff from being thrown away just because it doesn’t seem to work anymore. The second is to give people the confidence to at least try and repair their own stuff. Very often the fix is simple and the owner can get a few more years out of their belongings.
I was lucky that the opportunity of a little bit of funding came along for community initiatives in the Burren. I applied for it and got it – great. That’s what got the ball rolling now. The next was finding a good venue, i.e. a local shop that has some spare space.
There’s a shop called the “Cheese Press” in Ennistymon that obviously sells cheese and other food/drink. And most importantly: Good coffee. They are also very engaged with community matters; they run yoga classes, invite people to play music in the small upstairs space, and they just became part of an initiative to reduce the number of disposable cups sold in the town.
Downstairs is the perfect space for the Repair Café. It is still well connected to upstairs but won’t stop upstairs functioning. And I found a great supporter of the idea in the owner of the café Sinéad Ní Gháirbhith.
The local Men’s Shed are also interested in helping out with volunteering and as news spreads surely others will join in.
So all we need to do now is find some more volunteers, set a date and we can get started.
If we can stop a trailer load of stuff going into landfill in the first year that would be a good start.