Craig Bakay | Mar 20, 2019
For the past few months, Wagarville Road resident Peter de Bassecourt has been making a monthly trek to Kingston to fix things.
Not things like what’s-wrong-with-the-world things; lamps and chairs and toasters type things.
He’s become part of a growing movement, called Repair Cafe, in which people bring in belongings that need fixing and other people fix them for them.
“We meet at the Kingston Unitarian Fellowship building on Concession Street,” he said. “It’s one of the 1,778 Repair Cafes worldwide.”
And now, de Bassecourt is in the process of setting up Frontenac Repair Cafe, a similar operation under the Repair Cafe banner that he sees as a roving operation — Sharbot Lake one month, Sydenham the next, then Verona, then Ompah, etc.
He’s got enthusiasm, and a Repair Cafe charter. What he needs now is some volunteers and more importantly, some locations that would be willing to host a Cafe.
Volunteers consist of people who like to (and can) fix things (could be just about anything if you have the right gear and “sewing is really huge, especially zippers”) as well as people who like to organize (ie, take names, make waiting lists, connect fixers with those needing things fixed) and people who simply like to make the coffee and bring the goodies.
“Repair Cafe gives you a ‘starter kit’ with all the information and forms you need to get started,” de Bassecourt said. “But we really need is somebody or organization to host.
“The problem is insurance. We couldn’t get the insurance we have to have on our own.”
He said church basements are common within the organization but he said there’s no reason why a business, say a hardware store, couldn’t host one. And a cafe for a particular month could be tailored towards a particular business. Cafes regularly hold ‘workshops’ on everything from fixing chairs to darning socks.
About the only no go is anything with gasoline engines, for insurance reasons.
De Bassecourt got interested when plans for a re-purpose operation at Central Frontenac waste sites went south. To him, the re-use aspect of the Repair Cafe is a big attraction.
“We’re not replacing commercial ventures,” he said. “We’re keeping things out of landfills.”
And, there’s a couple of other aspects he likes.
“It’s free, and people are really appreciative,” he said. “But we also get a lot of kids to the workshops.
“This is good because we’re losing older fixers and this is a way to pass skills on to kids.”
You can also look up the Kingston Repair Cafe on FaceBook.