Holmfirth Repair Café – how local people can fix things

Holmfirth Repair Café – how local people can fix things

We want to say thank you to the groups and organisations who have started their Growing Great Places crowdfunding campaigns recently. This is really brave at such an uncertain time, and shows just how much our local places mean to people.

We’re delighted to share the news that the Holmfirth Repair Café (part of Holmfirth Transition Town) have already reached their crowdfunding target. We talked to project leader Caroline Anstey about her experience, and why neighbourliness is more important than ever.


Holmfirth Repair Café are a group of volunteers who want to share their ‘fixing’ skills with the aim of helping local people with repairs on a wide range of goods, from textiles to small electrical domestic appliances. In trying to get their project off the ground, the group started a Growing Great Places campaign for Holmfirth Repair Cafe, asking for pledges to help them rent premises for the next 12 months.

When the coronavirus lockdown hit the day after launching the project, undeterred they quickly adapted their focus and began making facemasks. Local people were asked if they would make a pledge to the Repair Café project fund, instead of paying for the facemasks.

From an initial request for one or two masks, 47 were then requested by one of the emergency services. In total, the group have now made over 150 facemasks for the local community.

This proved so successful that their overall crowdfunding target was not only met, but exceeded with still two weeks to go until the deadline. There have been 53 backers to date, raising over £1,600. Kirklees Council are pleased to also be contributing £500 to the repair cafe, so that the group can store all their materials safely.

Caroline hopes they will be able to launch the Holmfirth Repair Café later this year. She believes that over the years people in communities have lost a lot of skills and knowledge. The VE Day anniversary provides a timely reminder of war time experience, when make-do-and-mend was the order of the day. Fixes might include repurposing fabrics, mending a hem or checking wiring on an electrical appliance to bring it back to working use.

Caroline believes the Holmfirth Repair Café can have a number of positive impacts on the local community. Upcycling rather than taking things to the tip has a positive environmental impact, reducing landfill. Repairs and fixes can also be a money saver – why spend money on new when you don’t have to? Importantly, she believes that it will be empowering for individuals who learn new skills at the repair café:

“Holmfirth Repair Cafe will enable people to see things around us differently and apply new skills or a new perspective elsewhere, maybe to help others at a time when neighbourliness has become more important than ever.”

Caroline Anstey, Holmfirth Repair Cafe

We know this project is about fixing more than the things that come through the door, and we’re pleased to be able to show our support for an idea that means something to local people.


Extra help for local campaigns

We’re all learning what really matters in our local places. Growing Great Places is a way for people to get together and decide to be part of what happens next, through civic crowdfunding.

Both Kirklees Council and our partners at Spacehive are keen to do more to help the groups who have taken the brave decision to crowdfund at this time. Spacehive have waived their standard 5% fee for projects who are raising funds during lockdown, have relaxed their criteria and are offering an extension of up to two months to give people more breathing space. Find out more: Let’s pull together

In addition, we are being more flexible about the percentage of project costs that we can pledge to fund. We’re also keen to hear from anyone who might like to start crowdfunding soon, so we can learn how to support you best.

Please email: GrowingGreatPlaces@kirklees.gov.uk

Growing Great Places – civic crowdfunding

Growing Great Places projects – get involved

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