Doug Norris, right, helps repair an item at the inaugural SIRCH Repair Cafe held in January 2020. This month SIRCH is bringing back Repair Cafe, with the first one to be held on Feb. 12 from 10-2pm at the SIRCH Training Centre and Bistro, located at 49 Maple Ave. Anyone can bring a broken item to the Repair Cafe to have a volunteer fix it for free. /Photo submitted

Repair Café returns to Haliburton County

By Angelica Ingram

Have a broken toaster that no longer toasts? Frustrated that your CD player won’t play your favourite tunes? Don’t toss them away, but rather bring them to the Repair Café!

SIRCH Community Services is excited to announce the return of Repair Café, an initiative that brings together volunteers and the community to fix broken items for free.

The first Repair Café will take place on Sunday, Feb. 12 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the SIRCH Training Bistro at 49 Maple Ave., in Haliburton.

Launched in 2020, Repair Café helps people repair broken items such as small household appliances, toys, electronics, garden tools and more. A team of volunteers with an expertise in making things work will be on hand to assess your item and get it working again.

The decision to bring back this popular event came from a desire to keep items out of the landfill while creating a sense of community, said SIRCH executive director Gena Robertson.

“We have become such a disposable society, and Repair Cafes are about encouraging people to hang onto their things, and repair them rather than throw them away. The Cafes support what we do at Thrift Warehouse and support the reduce, reuse, recycle philosophy,” she said.

When SIRCH launched Repair Café in January, 2020, the first event was a great success, with 24 volunteers in attendance and close to 50 items brought in to be fixed. Only eight items were not fixable, resulting in an overwhelming amount of positive feedback from attendees. The second event in March 2020 saw an even greater turnout, with nearly 90 visitors and more than 50 items brought in, with only three not able to be fixed.

“The feedback from the visitors was that it was an outstanding initiative on many levels,” said SIRCH training coordinator Dianne Woodcock. “They had the opportunity to learn about the resources in our community, the powerful and positive impact on the landfills, and in some cases, how to fix their own items. For everyone, it was a chance to learn about what items could be fixed that they did not think of before.”

When COVID hit, Repair Cafes were put on hold…until now.  Organizers are hopeful the upcoming event will see a similar positive response while making the public aware of the benefits of keeping items out of the landfills.

“SIRCH Repair Cafe wants to help reduce the mountains of waste that our landfills experience.  We throw away piles of stuff every day,” said Woodcock. “This includes items which practically have nothing wrong with them, and could be easily repaired and used.  Unfortunately, many of us have forgotten that so many things can be repaired and SIRCH Repair Cafe wants to change that.”

Aside from the environmental benefits, the event also aims to connect neighbours with their neighbours, while exchanging skills and expertise. Woodcock explained, “Repair Cafe is also meant to put neighbours in touch with each other in a new way and to discover that a lot of know-how and practical skills can be found close to home. If you repair a bike, a CD player or a pair of trousers and can share that expertise with an unfamiliar neighbour, it creates a whole new community outlook. Repairs can save money and resources. Repair Cafes’ can show how much fun repairing things can be, and often easier than they thought.”  

For more information contact SIRCH at 705-457-1742 or via email at