What’s a Repair Café?

It’s a place where you can get a favourite thing fixed, save money, help save the planet and have a cup of coffee while you’re doing it. If it’s worn out, stopped working, torn or just on the blink, don’t throw it away – bring it along to Cholsey Repair Café and we’ll try to fix it. First, though, please read our House Rules.

Get it fixed

We'll examine your item and look for the cause of the fault. Then we’ll try to repair it. You can watch and help. You might pick up some tips to help you in the future.

Our volunteers can do electrical repair, computer repair, mechanical repair, sewing & textiles, bicycle maintenance, tool sharpening and just general sticking back together.

We might not be able to fix it on the day. It may need a special replacement part or it may be beyond our skills. In that case we’ll advise you what to do next. Sometimes the replacement part is readily available on the Web. We’ll advise you how to find it and you can then either try fitting it yourself, take it to a professional repairer or bring it back to the next Repair Café.

Save money

Throwing something away means you have to pay for a replacement. If we can fix it, we ask only that you pay for the materials we use and make a donation to our running costs – it’s up to you how much you give.

Save the planet

Put simply, everything we throw away damages our planet. That’s because the replacement you buy had to be manufactured. That uses up resources, pumps carbon into the atmosphere and perhaps uses unsustainable materials (we’ve all heard about plastics, rainforest logging, etc.) The less we buy, the less that will happen. Keep the one you’ve got — it’s been fine so far and probably does everything you need when it’s working.

Have a cup of coffee

… or tea, or a soft drink, and a cake if you like. The Cholsey Community Cafe serves refreshments in the pavilion foyer until 12 noon. So you can relax, have a snack and chat while you’re waiting for one of our volunteers.

Co-ordinator’s Message

Greetings to all our readers and customers and it’s high time I offered my latest thoughts as Co-ordinator of Cholsey Repair Café.

Give or take a pandemic, we’ve been very happy with the results we’ve been able to produce since opening in 2018; our volunteer skills base is still widening and pooling our fixers’ knowledge and experiences has enabled us to tackled some quite involved projects. The basic principle is still that we are here to help you make repairs, including showing you how to analyse a problem and track down the most likely fault.

As I always say, a lot of things aren’t as broken as they appear; take vacuum cleaners, for example, which are extremely reliable but often subject to a build-up of fluff and rubbish that chokes the airways. Whipping out a few screws will often reveal an obvious blockage; in fact we recently found a conker stuck in the pipes of a vacuum cleaner!

We sharpen huge numbers of knives and shears, yet a convenient gadget to do the job can be found in most hardware shops for a few pounds. Remember that a blunt knife or shears can be more dangerous than sharp ones. Do try to get into the repair habit at home.

With electrical equipment, it’s always worth checking the fuse if the gadget won’t run at all. People have brought us electric heaters that smelled of burning — but all that was singeing was the dust that naturally settles on the heating elements when they’re not in use.

Sometimes a battery-powered device just has leaky, dead batteries or dirty contacts inside. If you use almost any kind of re-chargeable device, it is likely to run reliably for longer if you let the batteries do a decent bit of work before you re-charge them. We see it all but aim to explain and educate where we can: it’s extremely pleasant to send customers away with smiles on their faces when we have solved their problems.

Happy as we are to serve communities outside Cholsey, we would be pleased to see more repair cafés like ours dotted around South Oxfordshire and near parts of Berkshire. We will always be happy to share our experience with anyone wanting to set up a similar service in their own community.

Best wishes and fight the ‘green’ fight!

Ian Wheeler

House Rules


The objective of the Repair Café is to help users make their own repairs. Unpaid volunteers with relevant expertise provide tools and are available to help and offer advice, but they cannot guarantee that every item can be repaired.

Users and visitors attend the Repair Café at their own risk. The organisers cannot be held responsible for any loss, damage to property or personal injury — direct or consequential — resulting from the activities of Cholsey Repair Café.

Hot and sharp tools may be in use and there may be other hazards. Young children must be supervised at all times and should not be allowed to play in this hall.

The volunteers reserve the right to decline or halt any repair that is outside the immediate scope of their time, equipment or knowledge, or to recommend that professional, paid-for advice be sought elsewhere.

Users are advised NOT to request repairs to items that are still covered by the maker’s or vendor’s guarantee, which would thus be invalidated.

Repairs, if possible at all, are carried out free of charge although a donation towards operating costs (principally hall hire) would be greatly appreciated and will enable the Repair Café to continue.

Users are required to pay for any spare parts, materials and consumables used in repairs.

Whilst every effort will be made to give satisfactory results, Cholsey Repair Café does not offer any form of warranty against workmanship or materials supplied to users.

The volunteers are not obliged to re-assemble items that cannot be repaired.

Users must remove their items from the premises, whether or not they have been repaired: Cholsey Repair Café does not provide a disposal service.

During busy times there may be queues for some types of repair. In that event we may limit users to one item at a time and if they have another item for attention they may re-join the back of the queue.

Website by Charles Lambert
Built on Milligram