“I want my community to function well. I want the planet to survive with all its ecosystems”, Kate Jerrold.
What is your job about?
We are a community collective. Myself and others run the repair café, we recognize that the majority of things that get thrown away aren’t broken they are just old or a very simple fix. I think people have lost touch with their neighbours and communities. The idea is to get lots of people together who can fix things. We have professional engineers and seamstresses to people who are just good at fixing things. It’s a whole mixture of people. We open a local church once a month and say bring us your broken things. Its completely free and It’s about getting people in touch with their neighbours, realizing things are fixable and can be fixed. We get people together and look at their relationships with stuff. We want it to become the norm so people start to think like that throughout your life. We do it on a Saturday so families come and it can be a part of normal weekend activities
What issues do you address?
- In Bristol we spend 40 million per year on waste
- People have lost touch with skills, and the ability to fix things rather than just throw away and replace. A lot of people struggle to cut down on their emissions but if they repair rather than throw away it creates huge savings.
- There are very few repair shops and there’s VAT on repair shops.
- Recycling is slightly diverted because actually a lot of things can be fixed and reused.
What moved you to take action?
I come from a background of reclamation, I noticed the 100,000 doors we throw away each year, and then we bring in virgin Amazon rainforest to replace it. I got more and more irritated that we aren’t reusing. I stumbled over the repair café in Holland and thought it was a brilliant idea. I saw the framework and thought why isn’t it happening here. I put up a Facebook page and said look this is a fabulous idea who’s with me? And people were! People gave up their Saturdays to help people they don’t know. It’s a common bond of humanity.
What were the obstacles that you had to overcome?
- I suggested a day where we went to the local tip and offered to repair things for people but the council refused it.
- I originally asked the Green Capital to tweet for me but they said that we weren’t the sort of organization they would do that for. I complained to my councilor and now they will re-tweet if I ask them.
- The idea that people will do something nice for free, people are very skeptical.
- We have had a lot of difficulties because we are not an organized charity or group – people just won’t work with us and it’s very difficult to apply for things.
What helped you keep going in hard times?
It’s a really great thing that we are doing, I’m passionate about it and it does change people’s lives. It’s one of the only organizations that highlights real people doing real things (Earth Champions).
What first prompted you to become interested in environmental issues and when was that?
I have always been interested in people and living in the most sustainable way properly. I want my community to function well. I want the planet to survive with all of its ecosystems.
On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being very happy) where would you rate how you feel about your life?