A café that has swapped pastries for power tools is celebrating – thanks to a cash boost of more than £5,000, funded by the North of Tyne Combined Authority (NTCA), Rothbury Parish Council, and generous members of the community.

The Northumberland-based Coquetdale Repair Café offers their customers an unusual service: bring in any valued broken possessions and staff will fix it, over a cuppa and cake, sharing their skills in the process.  The repair sessions are designed to bring together local people who might be at risk of isolation or just fancy a chat, and to also salvage and mend items that would otherwise be destined for landfill. The volunteer-led venue boasts specialist ‘repair stations’ for belongings ranging from baskets to binoculars, electricals to textiles, and even garden gnomes. Each time an item is successfully fixed, a bell is rung in the hall and everyone cheers.

Woman repairing the inside of a hamper basket

Coquetdale repair cafe, Rothbury.

Elke Meiborg, part of the team of dedicated volunteers that runs the café, said: “We’re so grateful for all the support. Funding from NTCA, Rothbury PC and our backers allowed us to make a flying start. And thanks to our brilliant, skilled volunteers we can actually offer the community what we promised. Without them, we would be nowhere.”

The funding comes from the NTCA’s crowdfunding scheme and enables project organisers to cover the costs of new tools and machines as well as overheads like rent.

Elected Mayor for the North of Tyne, Jamie Driscoll, said: “This is brilliant on so many levels. Sharing skills. Tick. Tackling loneliness. Tick. Reducing landfill waste. Tick. Hats off to the team for such a great idea and for all their hard work. We were only too pleased to contribute some cash to support the Coquetdale Repair Cafe.

Created by the NTCA, #CrowdfundNorthofTyne gives local people the opportunity to create and fund projects which celebrate and improve their local areas.

For more information about Coquetdale Repair Café, visit: https://www.coquetrepair.co.uk/

Woman using a sewing machine

Coquetdale repair cafe, Rothbury.