Claire Mackenzie, Barrington Repair Café

Since being a student I have been a passionate environmentalist and in London 10 years ago I became a member of Transition Ealing. I am a mum of 3 boys, 14, 12 and 6 and am very worried about their world. Transition gave me a place to be part of positive, sustainable, community and family friend events such as reskilling and gardening.

When I came to Cambridge I contacted Cambridge Carbon Footprint and Transition and volunteered at a couple of Repair Cafés and ran a Swish. They had the same atmosphere as the Transition events in Ealing. With the encouragement and guidance of Nicole and Kate I then went on to organise a Repair Café in Barrington village hall in 2019, and have now held 2 of them.

I have organised them around my family, the children’s schools, which I volunteer at, and my work as a Bowen Technique therapist.

At present, I have only had the capacity to organise the Repair Cafés once a year but as a result of the Repair Café last year, myself and other parents form the primary school have formed the Barrington and Beyond Eco Group. We are building a group so hope to do more Repair Cafés, especially as double the number of people attended this year.

At present all of us in the eco group are parents at Barrington Primary and part of our work is running the Eco Ministry at the primary school. This benefits the Repair Cafés as 80% of the volunteers at the Repair Café are parents or grandparents from school – repairers and organisers. The school helps us with marketing and enlarging local people to attend. This year we also included a Vintage clothes stall, again it is run by a local Barrington neighbour.

We have used the Repair Cafés as a good way to communicate with the local community in regard to other eco projects we have in mind, such as Energy and gardening. Those who attend enjoy the social and community atmosphere meeting people outside of their social groups. They are excellent spring board events for future events. We look forward to organising more!

Claire Mackenzie and Repair Café Team, including Michelle Golder and Sheena Mooney