Shaftesbury Area Publican Calls Time On Throwaway Culture

The landlady of The Rising Sun pub hopes to set up a repair café to reduce the number of malfunctioning gadgets we bin, assuming they are too difficult to fix.

Niky Daley told Alfred’s Keri Jones that she hopes to recruit volunteers with a range of skills required for a monthly workshop session in her pub.

Niky took on The Rising Sun at the end of last year. The former BBC radio employee quickly set about bringing the thatched Donhead St Mary’s pub back to life, by hosting community events and activities ranging from arts workshops to bird counts.

“We’re a bit of an unusual pub, really. We’ve called ourselves a ‘coffee tavern’ because we want to do something a little bit different. We are not in the middle of the town, so people have to sort of drive to get to us,” said Niky.

Niky Daley

She says that a repair café would provide a useful service to our community and it’s a relatively straightforward concept. “It’s somewhere where you can bring something that is a little bit broken or completely broken and you can see if you can get it fixed.”

Repair cafés have been springing up across England, but Niky first became aware of them when she was travelling abroad. “I came across the idea a couple of years ago somewhere in Scandinavia. I thought, what a fantastic idea. More recently, I read an article in a national paper about a Reading repair café and suddenly thought, well, maybe we could get something like this going in Shaftesbury,” said Niky.

She said that she had looked at schemes in Edinburgh and Brixton that have both adopted the term, ‘re-makery’. It is a descriptive name she likes. “I’m a bit of a fan of that programme ‘Money for Nothing’ where they upcycle stuff. Some of it is a bit mad and wacky. There is that creative element but there’s also the skills, which you do need if you’re going to be tinkering about with electrical items,” said Niky.

Niky says that the concept fits in with current sustainability thinking and some of the goals that Planet Shaftesbury are addressing. She is keen to provide an alternative to our practice of throwing broken gadgets away because it is too difficult finding somebody to repair them. “People want to upgrade their mobile phones every year or so. I think we have sort of lost that ‘make do a mend’ ethos that generations before us had.”

The Rising Sun

Of course, there are some strict regulations to consider, particularly concerning electrical items. That is why some charity shops reject donated goods that need to be plugged into the mains or which require PAT (portable appliance) testing. Niky says she would be keen to hear from anyone qualified to tackle electrical or electronic repairs.

“Running my own business, I’m aware of health and safety issues and you do have to be very careful. That’s something I need to do some further research on. I have had initial conversations with Blandford repair café, to see if possibly we could work together on some level.”

Niky says she would expect the repair café’s fixers to donate their time for the benefit of the community. “Mainly it’s done on a voluntary basis,” she said, adding that she has plenty of space in her back room. The pub’s easy access, alongside the A30 and adjacent to a car park, would make it easier for people to bring and drop off items which require attention.

Some potential helpers have already approached Niky and she’s hoping to launch the scheme after children return to school. “I did have a couple of people who were kindly offering their time, but September is when they would be available. I was trying to put the word out now and start meeting in September.”

If there is enough interest and support to sustain a service, Niky hopes that a regular monthly repair shop can be arranged on set days, so locals know where to take broken items that need to be brought back to life.

“Following the model of other repair cafés that I’ve seen, it would be once a month or so, facilitating a space where people can bring items and hopefully finding some people who might be able to come along and repair them and take it from there.”

If you can help, contact Niky at The Rising Sun or email nicola.daley@ymail.com.