Funding for Repair Cafes

Have any groups here received funding from outside organisations? If so did you have to set up as a formal group, with a constitution, bank account etc? Or how did you physically get the money?
Thanks in advance for answers :grinning:


At St Albans District Fixers we operate as a project under Sustainable St Albans, which means we benefit from their public liability insurance (they had to inform their insurer of the extra activities), they handle finance and funding, and we can call ourselves a charity under their charitable status. I believe some groups operate under FoE or other green organisations, so if you can find one that will take you on it’ll save a huge amount of boring admin stuff.

I’d been nagging Sustainable St Albans for several years about setting up a repair group. Having already demonstrated the concept in association with a local church, I was pushing at an open door, except that I had no one to help me organise it. The breakthrough came after they asked me to write a guest blog posting about repair as part of their Countdown to COP campaign. One reader was so moved by it that, encouraged by an offer to fix her mother’s lawn mower, she agreed to come onboard.

In fact the only funding we’ve needed has been for a PAT tester and a flip chart. We split donations 50/50 with the venue, most often a church which doesn’t charge for hire of the space, so we’re largely self-funding. I think the only other expense we have coming up is a plastic printed banner that we have in mind.

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Thank you Philip, That is really helpful. We have run two events so far but with funding in kind – eg the church hall and refreshments for free. Our electrical repairers have also been paid so far through the Restart network. So we are just looking for when we may have to fund bits ourselves. Like you, we will probably take shelter under the local church or amenity society who are the main partners in organising the event.

Best wishes with your work in St Albans


Same as Philip: Hackney Fixers is a project of Sustainable Hackney.

Repair Café Nunhead has no organisation and it’s doing fine, although it always meets at the same community centre, so that covers a lot of the issues.

It takes an awful lot of time and effort to set anything, especially stuff like bank accounts, charitable status etc. up so I’d definitely recommend avoiding doing it yourself it you can.

Also, I’d recommend partnering with one specific organisation, rather than many to avoid possibly conflicting aims etc.

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We have received some funding, from the local authority, but have not had to establish an organisation. Got the money by bank transfer, as I have a UTR number. Hope that helps!


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Repair Cafe Gosport has successfully a few grants, the key thing is to get decision makers to visit so they understand what a Repair Cafe is, invite your local councillors or country councillors.

Some useful sources to consider include:

  • Some councillors have discretionary grants that they can award to local groups. Identifying those people and engage with them.
  • The other source is your local community lottery (if you have one).
  • Umbrella charity groups e.g. Rotary Club or Masonic lodges

The feedback we have had fro donors and grant awardees highlighted that good governance and financial controls are helpful e.g. ring fenced bank account with multiple signatories and a written constitution that defines how money can be spent.

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Like some of the others here, Repair Cafe Kingston operated under an umbrella group, in our case Transition Town Kingston, which provides insurance (we too had to tell the insurer about this new activity and pay a bit more), a bank account, a newsletter, and moral support, for example, all the organising team come from TTK. When TTK got a donation from the local John Lewis, that went towards our start-up costs, and we have recently had a grant from Kingston Council, which will fund some bigger purchases, e g, a PAT and a card reader to supplement or replace the ones we have been borrowing so far, and ensure our future, as small ongoing costs can come out of donations on the day. I think it would be hard to get funding without a group bank account, constitution and possibly other documentation such as a safeguarding policy.

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