I had a chat with Catherine Peters, the individual behind the great altruistic initiative, The cREate Care and Repair Cafe.
Tell me more about the cREate Care and Repair Cafe and who you are.
The cafe is a place where local communities can bring items, to be repaired or re-purposed instead of sending to landfill, whilst also acquiring essential skills for life or just for fun and to socialise. The initial idea is to launch different themes weekly / monthly, for example our first sessions are planned around sewing and knitting. You could bring an item of fabric, clothing or household haberdashery and a team of volunteers will help to mend, make, alter or re-purpose the item.
We ideally want to collect items from the community that we can re-purpose, the team then can re-sell the upscaled versions to create a fund for a specific charity.
I would love to see cREate project grow into a one-stop venue where we not only trade skills but run workshops to rent items out such as bench/tools/machinery, creating original pieces and fixing individuals personal items too. It is vital to me that children are given an open door to learn and embrace the idea of cREate – Care and Repair Cafe – to cherish and repair belongings instilling skill and respect whilst learning practical skills which are on the verge of being lost among younger generations.
Why did you decide to pursue this idea and why do you think it is important?
Mint & Mamma, the home of the Care and Repair Cafe, began life when I returned to Blackpool after many years away in London, Germany and Liverpool working as a freelance Designer. Work was limited so I began to explore craft, workshops, upcycling and re-purposing items and it became an absolute passion for me.
The landfill will be reportedly full in 8 years so we need to recognise that our consumption of ‘stuff’ needs to be somehow slowed down.
The Care and Repair Cafe will bring together groups within the community who potentially have vital or untapped skills, perhaps individuals who may have become isolated for a variety of reasons: (e.g. retirement, redundancy, bereavement, mental illness) and share those “untapped” skills to provide a multitude of positive outcomes: knowledge sharing, re-purposing, community engagement and pride. Passing on skills will engage and encourage families to transfer knowledge down to future generations – keeping skills alive. I want to ignite a passion for keeping vintage, beautifully made pieces to help show communities how to fix, upcycle, or even donate to us instead of discarding.
Where are you based and how can people get involved?
We have no premises as yet, I work from home but I am working on possible venues so people can get in touch with The Mint & Mamma Facebook page. I want to help to inspire and encourage people to form their own communities around this ethic and idea
What is next on the cards for you?
I am still meeting and talking to people to gain support. I have had a fantastic reaction from Leftcoast who have been extremely supportive, and recently attended a community engagement day at Blackpool and the Fylde College to recruit student volunteers, especially for a tech-themed session for the repair cafe. Reactions were super positive with further contact established with Blackpool Council regarding empty premises for use as Pop-Up sessions.
There is an existing project in Edinburgh – the Remakery- with who I am currently scheduled to have a meeting with to gain further advice, particularly on how to engage with community volunteers and daily operations.
We are currently looking forward to running test sessions in order to gain knowledge and vital findings in order to apply for funding. So watch this space.
Contact Catherine to find out more: