The NS Grant enabled us to hold two well-attended repair workshops this year. We had about 60 guests at each event, and about 55% of the items brought in were restored to full working order. We provided lunch for all of our volunteers, and at our April workshop, we returned to our former practice of offering coffee and tea to our guests, which added to the hospitable atmosphere. Each event is staffed by about 24 volunteers. Our challenges are few; having held eight of these workshops, we have learned a thing or two. We have a set of house rules that we ask each guest to read, and we widely advertise the “no dogs” policy at Alex House. This heads off some misunderstandings right from the start. We had hearing-impaired customers, and we learned that at least 2 of our volunteers are fluent in sign language. Most of our guests leave happy even if their items can’t be repaired, but it is so rewarding for the fixers to be able to return some prized possession to working condition.
We have also learned that the vast majority of our guests are from the South Surrey White Rock area. This is exactly what the repair movement aims for: local people serving their neighbours and their community. Alex House gave us a storage space that needed to be refurbished, so our crafty fixers renovated it and bought locks so that our inventory of tools and supplies could be safely stored. The NSG program made all this possible, and we are so very grateful for the financial support. We are also indebted to Alex House for their stalwart support of the SSWR Repair Cafe.