Repair Cafe Ashford

Repair Cafe

Repair Cafe Ashford restored this porcelain figurine, for an ex-jockey and his family. The tail and ear had broken off and were damaged. After some reattaching, reinforcing and camouflage finishing, this horse is back to his racing glory days.

Horse and Jockey

Some of the team at work…Len Chittenden

Sewing Machine

Repair Café Ashford

Due to popular demand The Repair Cafe now operates every Wednesday.
Time: 13.00 – 16.00 (to avoid the school run) in the workshop.

Items may be deposited and picked-up outside these times by prior arrangement. A form with contact details is required.
Usually a volunteer will discuss how your item might be repaired and, if you wish, work with you to fix it.
Clearly, not all items can be fixed on the spot and you will be notified at a later date.
There is not a charge but donations are welcome and these are used to purchase replacement supplies and support the work of the Repair Cafe.
Please note: the cafe services is in the Footprints Cafe and Bistro part of the main Centre building.

Volunteer needed!

The Repair Café is looking for volunteers! Do you have a background in electronics, and are good with your tech? If so, and you are interested in becoming part of the Repair Café team, please contact the centre manager at


Donations, please

Repair Cafe

Repair Café Ashford has a Facebook page

You can also send us an email at:

Len Chittenden

Merchandise Cabinet

In the main Centre building there is a cabinet with items made on the premises from locally sourced materials. Please ask at the desk opposite or seek out the Centre Manager.


Merchandise Cabinet


Repair Cafe

The Repair Cafe Ashford at Singleton Environment Centre aims to:

  • Sort items suitable for repair
  • Choose materials for re-use
  • Make useful goods and gifts
  • Upcycle discarded goods
  • Learn new skills and teach others
  • Share ideas and solutions
  • Donate unwanted tools

Repair and Reuse

Repair and reuse
It has also been described as “tinkering”, the attempt to repair or improve something in a casual or desultory way.

Another version is disassembly and reassembly, “to dismantle, take apart, take to pieces, pull apart, pull to pieces, take/pull to bits, deconstruct, break up, strip down” and, possibly, to put back together again.

There is such a host of possibilities!

The group is now ready to receive items for repair and reuse. Come along or call John to discuss your suggestions.

For bicycle recycling we recommend the programme run by Cycle Community CIC at Goldwyn School

Julie in the workshop

Join in

The photo shows the first meeting on Thursday 19 July 2018. There was no shortage of ideas and a range of skills on offer.

Inaugural meeting

We are keen to hear from likely volunteer leaders and those who would like to join in.

Contact to  discuss:

John Alexander, Centre Manager or
Len Chittenden

Story from a volunteer

Yesterday at Repair Cafe Ashford saw the dismantling and testing of a Dualit toaster that gets warm but doesn’t actually toast. Conclusion : a broken element, happily Dualit make their items accessible and repairable. So if the owner is happy to buy the parts we will be able to get a new element set which I’ll then fit.

Next up was an Elna Sewing Machines unit that refuses to zig zag. This one is going to be harder to deal with. The needle movement appears to be controlled by a cam in the upper section so something must be loose or jammed. It’s dismantled now, at least, and so next week I can dig a little deeper.

Meanwhile, others were putting together bird feeder kits that we’re supplying to a local community school (I think) , a small fund raiser for the repair cafe and a great practical nature project for the kids. We seem to have a glut of vacuum cleaners at the moment waiting for some care and attention.

As you can probably tell, repairs are mostly mystery tours that start with “how the hell do I even open this”. It’s a great way to help keep things out of land fill and practice/learn skills. At Ashford we mostly do repairs for people whilst many other cafes follow the drop in and learn model, where they’ll be open for a couple of hours and people are assisted to fix things themselves. I think that model was how Ashford started but with lockdown things changed, it also depends on the type of repair of course and most of all on the people.

I’m still too new at this to profess to any great skill but it’d be nice at some point to be able to pass on what I’m learning “on the job” so more of us can start “fixing not throwing”.

Neil Horlock



Rachel did a great job on fixing and repainting these geese

Geese before

Geese after

Re-furbished coffee table

One happy ‘customer’ with a dark-wood Ercol coffee table transformed by Ron.

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