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November's Manurewa Repair Café: Community Fixes and Impact Highlights

Meet our guest blogger, Laura Qin, a passionate volunteer and dedicated member of the Boomer Shed – our community shed for people over 50. Laura keeps us updated with insider stories, project highlights, and the magic that makes the Boomer Shed a special place.

The Manurewa Repair Café, located at 38 Holmes Road, is a proud initiative derived from the Beautification Trust’s Zero Waste kaupapa. It was established by our Volunteer Facilitator, Carolyn Robinson, to address the community’s need for a more sustainable practice. Since then, the Repair Café has received extensive positive feedback.

Their most recent Repair Café took place on Saturday 11 November, with repair requests steadily streaming in since it opened at 10 am. By the gate was Maurie. With a witty sense of humor, he warmly greeted visitors and provided directions. The pop-up bike repair stand was the first to be seen as we neared the café entry,

where repairs were already underway. After filling out a short questionnaire and

consent form at the check-in station, our friendly and helpful volunteers,

Janice and Carolyn, assessed the repair requirements and gave visitors directions to the appropriate workstation, while Mahafrin allocated the repair jobs and assigned waiting arrangements to keep the flow going. During the wait, visitors could comfortably enjoy something to drink and nibble on.

At the check in station, from left to right, volunteer

Janice, Carolyn and Stephan.

At the Electrical Repair Station, we had Jude from the Waiuku community workshop

& tool library and Allen from our Boomers’ shed. At the Sewing station, Merrin from the Boomer Shed worked diligently, and at the Woodwork/Metalwork our lovely Boomers’ shed members John, Marsha, Patricia, and Paul were on standby, ready to help. Finally, at the Bicycle repair station, we had Luke from Duke’s Repair. The chef of the day was our lovely volunteer Carol, who was in charge of making delicious

sweet and savory nibbles and a variety of snacks.

Maurie Taking a short break with freshly baked scone.

As time passed, more repairs came in, our volunteers skillfully assessed the issues and provided recommended repair solutions. Unfortunately, some items were not designed for repair due to unavailable parts or changes in mechanics. However, the visitors were grateful to have received professional advice. There were many

successful repairs such as reattached broken cords of a circular saw, sharpened garden tools, repolished bike pads, a garden trimmer had its life restored, and alterations to garments were made. Some visitors expressed their happiness and gratitude, sharing the important message that they no longer had to throw away broken items they did not know how to repair and the stress of dealing with repair costs was significantly reduced.

The Repair Café also served as a vibrant hub for community connection. One visitor brought in a vintage desk lamp that was passed down to them, but sadly had broken in parts. Volunteer Marsha with a sharpened fork pick.

After our volunteers skillfully put it back together, a warm feeling filled our hearts as the story of the lamp unfolded. Another visitor, initially frustrated with damaged cushion pads, left with them as good as new, along with a newfound repairing skill and encouragement to be hands-on.

A handy engineer showed up on the day, keen to give back. He shared how the community had supported him during a major personal health scare. Coincidentally, he knew about Beautification Trust from when he was hunting for a bike to rehabilitate for his recovering neighbor a while back. So as soon as he heard about the Manurewa Repair Café, he jumped at the chance to participate.

A broken cord being reattached.

In a touching moment, a husband trying to help with laundry accidentally damaged a garment with an iron burn. His secret might have stayed hidden if the wife hadn't noticed the absence of her favorite clothing item! With some help from our volunteer, the garment was tailored into a new style and brought joy to the couple.

Volunteer Merrin at the Sewing repair station

Reflecting on our successful day, I want to extend a heartfelt thank you to our dedicated volunteers. Their time and kindness have edged us closer to our goal of eco-friendly sustainability. Eagerly, we now look forward to the next Repair Café.

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