I originally wanted to set up the Repair Cafe on my own with funding from Risch Designs. This section covers what I have had to do to set up the Repair Cafe as a private individual – it may not apply to everybody. Some groups who are interested in setting up a Repair Cafe may already have some or all of these in place. If you are already a community interest group or social enterprise you will almost certainly have a constitution and all the policies; you may even have the PL insurance cover.
Getting PL insurance seemed to take up most of the time. A lot of companies do not understand the concept of the repair cafe and were understandably very cautious. These are some examples of the things I came up against:-
Some companies required the group to have a constitution, trustees etc. Initially I wanted to avoid this only because I have an aversion to committees but in the end we had to go down this route for other reasons which will be covered later.
Several companies required any volunteers working on bikes to be Cytech qualified. Another company required anybody carrying out PAT testing to have a PAT testing certificate. ( PAT testing was another requirement by some companies )
While having qualified people is essential, if the certified PAT tester cannot make it one week then all electrical items would have to be turned away. A qualified electrical / electronics engineer with 30+ years experience could carry out PAT testing without a certificate.
Policies & procedures
In addition to common sense involved with running the repair cafe, the insurance companies want this documented. The company who got our business required Health & Safety Policy, PPE Policy, risk assessments and a nominated person in overall charge of Health & Safety.
One thing that is worth adding to the PL policy is Employers Liability insurance – this doesn’t add much to the cost but volunteers will be covered by this.
There are lots of sources of funding available if you know where to look and have the time to fill out the paperwork. Funding is not just obtaining grants, but any help towards the running costs. Our initial source of funding was the venue, Boothstown Village Hall, that waived the rental of the hall because we are a community project. I also approached the Rotary Club of Worsley and they very kindly covered the costs of some printing for us. The largest block of funding has come from Salford CVS with support from NHS Salford CCG who have awarded us a grant afrom the LPoH Wellbeing Fund.
Funding does come with some caveats – to qualify for the Salford CVS grant we needed a constitution, bank account and we need to measure the success of the Repair Cafe. I have also had to write an Equality & Diversity policy.
Constitution & policies
Salford CVS helped with the creation of the constitution. All volunteers at the Repair Cafe are automatically members of the group and we also appointed 3 trustees. Once this was in place we applied for a bank account so the grant could be paid over.Policies
Health & Safety
Equality & Diversity
It was a lot more work than I expected and the costs were certainly higher than I had been led to believe. I am lucky to be in a position where I could afford the time during the working day for meetings, pitching for grants, contacting insurance companies etc.
The day before each event I am busy getting paperwork sorted, forms printed, cakes baked and planning everything. I tend to keep waking up during the night thinking about what I have done (or forgotten to do) and then get up early to walk the dog before leaving him for the morning. I get there an hour before the event starts to set up tables, extension leads, get the geyser on in the kitchen. On the first event there were lots of people to speak to in between repairs, at the second event we had a journalism student filming us and interviewing people so it’s non-stop. After the event, we have to put everything away and clean up but I do have helpers for that.
I’m exhausted by the time I get home, get everything unloaded and all the notes written up. There are then other follow up emails etc in the week after the event.Should I just have volunteered at one of the other Repair Cafes?
Probably – it would have been less work but then the local community wouldn’t have a Repair Cafe.Is it worth the time and effort?
Most definitely. I might be exhausted by the Saturday afternoon but the buzz from repairing something and helping people is definitely worth it.Would I do it again?
If you have any questions or want to volunteer at the Repair Cafe, you can contact me on the Contact Form on this website or email the Repair Cafe directly at firstname.lastname@example.orgPrevious Next