Repair café in Chorley wins national award for saving objects rather than throwing them away

Organisers of the scheme at United Reformed Church are delighted to be recognised in community awards

Saturday, 10th July 2021, 10:49 am
Volunteers Paul Blackett and Abdulla Ismil at the Chorley Repair Cafe, pictured in 2020

The ‘Repair Café' has been named as a Community Project Award winner and receives a £2,000 prize in recognition of the work it has undertaken.

The café encourages people to bring in small electrical or mechanical items.

If possible they are repaired rather than thrown away.

We're asking Chorley Guardian readers to nominate 150 reasons to celebrate Chorley to mark the Guardian's 150th birthday

Started in November 2019, Chorley Repair Cafe is all about getting those bits of would-be trash going once again.

Church community worker Andy Littlejohns said: "I was delighted to find out that we had won an award.

"As a relatively new project and after the disruption of Covid, to have the work we're doing recognised in this way is a wonderful boost.

"The prize money will be used to buy a 3D printer, which will allow us to produce spare parts that are not available, helping us to repair more items and divert them from landfill. We'll also use it as a way to engage with a new generation of repairers."

Chorley Repair Cafe

The awards, sponsored by national church insurer Congregational Insurance, recognise the efforts of churches that engage with their local community, to establish and maintain social initiatives.

The £2,000 prize was due to be handed over on Saturday July 10.

Chorley's Repair Café is held every month in the church hall, alongside the weekly church coffee morning.

A wide range of people across all age groups use the service provided by the project, from young families to those who are much older.

Organiser Andy Littlejohns, Sir Lindsay Hoyle and volunteer Adam Read, at the Chorley Repair Cafe in 2020

The Repair Café enjoys an amazingly high success rate with 75 per cent of items brought to a session being repaired on the day, a few are taken home by volunteers for extra attention and a small number are considered beyond repair.

The most popular item for repair is the vacuum cleaner.

The volunteers, whose ages range from mid 20s to late 70s, have skills in a number of different areas: electrics, sewing, mechanics, woodwork, pushchairs and bicycles to name a few.

Margaret Slater, Head of Marketing for Congregational Insurance, and a member of the judging panel, said: "Repair Café is an inspiring project, with the growth of green consciousness and the success of the Repair Shop on TV, repair rather than recycle is very much in people’s minds.

Steve Stott repairing electricals at the Chorley Repair Cafe, held at Chorley United Reformed Church hall, in 2020

"This project’s success relies on utilising and developing individuals’ skills and knowledge to reduce waste, it helps those in need and has a positive effect on the environment and we acknowledge them as worthy award winners."

Chorley 150 countdown

A sense of community is one of the key facets that have made Chorley a great place during the 150 years of our newspaper's history.

As part of our 150th anniversary year, the Chorley Guardian is featuring 150 stories about Chorley: Inspirational people, places that we love, or special moments in the life of the borough.

Send in your suggestions via email [email protected]