Many people say they think mending is fabulous and want to talk to me about it but are too nervous/scared/[insert excuse here] to actually try it themselves. This includes journalists – somehow asking questions about repairs seems safer than joining along and trying it for themselves! They’re frightened the mending police will notice they’re not doing it “properly” (spoiler alert: nope), or they had a bad experience once and can’t seem to shake it off.

I’ve organised and attended a number of community repair workshops over the past few years. I’ve noticed people crowd around to watch something being dismantled and repaired, even if it wasn’t the thing they brought to be fixed. It’s exciting stuff, and people are keen to learn and to see what’s inside.

Imagine if, instead of being a repair observer, you could train to become a fixer?

Repair Kopitiam is a community repair initiative in Singapore, similar in spirit to Repair Cafe but with a key difference: they train people to become volunteer repair coaches!

They have a Facebook page and a Facebook group where you can ask questions and get help.

They’ve produced some helpful videos, too. In this one, fabric repair coach Agatha Lee (Agy) darns a cotton sock with embroidery floss.

I use a slightly different technique, so I found this fascinating to watch. Then I found this quote from Agy on the RK site: “What is interesting is that I began to notice that people repair in different ways. I may do a stitch to hem a certain way, and another person may do it differently. This exchange of knowledge is certainly one of the reasons why I keep coming down.”

Would you sign up to become a volunteer repair coach if training was offered? Let us know in the comments or join the conversation on Facebook!

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