Croydon ReUse and Croydon Council have partnered to deliver the borough’s first Textile Repair Café at Centrale & Whitgift, which opens today (Tuesday 15th March).
Croydon ReUse’s café will offer workshops at an affordable price to local residents who want to repair, refashion and recycle old textile items rather than throw them away.
The café’s new home in Croydon at the Whitgift Centre – opposite the Marks & Spencer’s entrance (Poplar Walk) – has been donated by Centrale & Whitgift for a trial period of six months, with Croydon Council providing administrative and day-to-day support, and workshops facilitated by Croydon ReUse volunteers.
All workshops will be led by a member of the community sharing their skills on basic repairs or customisation. There are typically around six spaces in each hands-on workshop, providing participants with attentive and tailored support.
This initiative forms part of the council’s drive to make Croydon more sustainable, led by the recently released Carbon Neutral Action Plan, which outlines an ambitious target for carbon neutrality in the borough by 2030.
Workshops begin on Wednesday 16 March, following a launch event earlier today where Croydon ReUse was joined by the cabinet member for sustainable Croydon, Centrale & Whitgift representatives and members of the local community. The launch included a free taster workshop breaking down the fiddly but incredibly useful task of button-fixing.
Residents can start signing up now for workshops via the Green Croydon website.
Following in the footsteps of repair cafés internationally, Croydon ReUse hope to expand its offering beyond textiles in the near future to include electronics, electrical items, furniture and other repair skills. If you can offer your time and expertise to provide workshops in these and other craft skills, then Croydon ReUse would love to hear from you.
Lucia Briault, a volunteer from Croydon ReUse said: “Around 350,000 tonnes of used clothing end up in landfill in the UK every year, at a time when most of us are no longer taught the skills we need to fix even the simplest of problems, like a button that’s come off. We aim to teach people to extend the life of their clothes and other textiles through repair or refashion. Alongside the environmental impact, sewing is increasingly becoming recognised as an effective way to combat depression, encourage mindfulness and reduce stress. The meditative action of sewing encourages positivity and feelings of relaxation and truly unwinding.”
“While shopping locally in Croydon, this new space will allow residents to care for their new purchases and make them last longer, or upcycle old items, giving them a fresh new look. It’s amazing that Croydon ReUse have a place to equip people with the skills to do so and we’re proud to be part of this partnership. This initiative will help reduce waste, ensure people can keep their clothes looking great for longer, reduce our carbon footprint and bring the community together in a friendly and creative space.
“We have an ambitious vision for a sustainable Croydon, and it’s really encouraging to be able to work with the community to meet our goals. Textiles are just the start and we hope to be able to help the repair café expand their offering for residents moving forward.”
Councillor Muhammad Ali, cabinet member for sustainable Croydon