When it comes to the environment, we are often taught the importance of the three Rs: reduce, reuse and recycle.
But a fourth, equally important R, is often forgotten about - repairing.
A team of volunteers from Transition Town Worthing has set up a monthly Repair Café at St Paul’s in an effort to promote repairing in the community, reducing the town’s carbon footprint.
Anyone can take broken items to the café, in Chapel Road, Worthing, and they will be helped to fix them for free by expert volunteers. Donations towards expenses are welcomed.
Organiser Pauline Cory, 69, said: “A huge amount of energy is used making things that have a short life deliberately.
“At the last Repair Café, a lady came along with some hair curlers that failed the day after the warranty ran out. When our engineer took them apart, you could see they were built to fail.
“If we repair something, it doesn’t end up in landfill or halfway around the world.”
As well as carrying out repairs, the café will promote the sharing of skills in the community, Pauline hopes.
“At the last café, someone wanted to learn how to use a soldering iron and in half an hour our volunteer taught him,” she said.
“It’s a re-skilling exercise - we’ve run tool-sharpening workshops, for example.”
Also involved in the initiative is Martin Osment, 72, who provides tools for the café as well as running his own repair charity, Freedom Powerchairs.
He said: “Transition Town Worthing came across us and asked if we could help. We’ve got everything they could dream of.”
Having been passionate about engineering since he was nine, Mr Osment now has to use a powerchair after being involved in a car crash 15 years ago.
He said: “I couldn’t find one that suited me, so I decided to build my own. Other people asked if I could do the same thing for them, so that was how the charity started.
“To build a bespoke powerchair now, we spend £7,500 just on parts.”
As well as building mobility aids for those in need, Mr Osment runs a community mobile workshop, carrying out free repairs at clients’ houses.
“Our role is to provide support especially to the disabled, but also to the rest of the community,” he explained.
“We’re anxious to transfer skills to people so they learn how to do things themselves. By fixing things, people will reuse more and buy less.”
Despite facing the monumental task of fighting climate change, Pauline Cory seems in good spirits.
She said: “As long as there are enough organisations like us, then I’m very optimistic about the future.
“I think we can turn things around, it’s not quite too late. A lot needs to change very fast, but I think it’s doable.”
The next Repair Café will take place on Saturday, November 24, at 10.30am at St Paul’s. Anyone interested in being a volunteer repairer can email firstname.lastname@example.org
Those who want to support Freedom Powerchairs can donate funds or unused equipment at www.freedompowerchairs.org.uk