The small Levenshulme repair café making a big impact

  • Waste is a mounting problem in Britain
  • A Levenshulme workshop offers free repairs for clothes, electronics and more
  • The repair café brings community together, according to organisers

A repair café in Levenshulme is doing its part to help the environment while also bringing the community together. 

Held every third Saturday of the month between 10am and 12pm at Levenshulme Old Library, the event brings people from Levenshulme and beyond to see if their damaged and forgotten items can be given a new lease of life.

Textile waste

Waste is a prominent issue in Britain, with clothing and textile waste filling landfills across the country. The binning or useable clothes in particular is bad, with around 350 thousand tonnes of wearable clothes thrown away every year. At the repair cafe, clothes are amongst the most common items, with tears and rips stitched back up.

Originally started in 2018, meetings stopped due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but resumed in the last year. Usually a team of around six volunteers, each with their own speciality, aim to get through around 20 to 30 items a day. 

Things brought in vary, with old items of clothing, broken electronics, faulty furniture and off key instruments all brought in with hopes of leaving good as new. The original owner then has the choice to take the item home or donate it to the group, so that it may be given to someone in need

The repair café takes place every third Saturday at Levenshulme Old Library, pictured above. Credit: Raphael Boyd

Maria Houlihan has run the workshop since September and feels that it is an invaluable part of the community.

He said: “We get lots of old faces, but also lots of new faces. Some people come every time and make a lovely donation.”

Maria stressed that the repair sessions have changed people’s perceptions regarding what can be saved and reused.

She feels that for many people “once you’ve been here once and you realise what we can do, you start seeing everything around your house that can be repaired”.

While Maria organises and helps run the event, it is the volunteer repairers who are at its heart. Those who repair come from around the local area to give up their Saturday mornings, fuelled by a passion for repairs and community. 


Sam is one such volunteer, and specialises in electronics. Electronics regularly find themselves on the repair table, with hair dryers, toasters, microwaves and more given due attention.

Electronic waste, known as E-waste, has skyrocketed over the past few decades. Worldwide, 40 millions tonnes of electronics were chucked last year, with just 12.5% of that estimated to be recycled. 

Image of a man repairing a kettle with a screwdriver
At the repair café, Sam fixes numerous electronics a week, in this case a broken kettle. Credit: Raphael Boyd

Sam, who has a background in physics and software, says he feels that the project is “helpful for the community”. He got involved because he ‘heard about the concept and liked it’ and wanted to make a difference in his local area.

Whilst the repair café shows no signs of slowing down, Maria mentioned that more volunteers would be greatly appreciated. If you enjoy stitching, soldering or screwing, and would like to make a difference and help the environment, reach out to the café to lend a helping hand.