How did you feel about the first edition of ReparierBar?
We were delighted with how well the ReparierBar was received at the opening. Over 40 people brought a wide variety of items to be repaired. Nevertheless, we were not at full capacity in all areas. Wooden products, textiles and bicycles could have been even more.
What is fixed, what is not?
Our team consists of retired craftsmen and helpers. We repair objects and devices in the field of electronics, electrics, mechanics/metal and, as already mentioned, in the field of wood, textiles and bicycles. We can do a lot, but not everything! And if there is something we cannot do, we will gladly refer you to the appropriate specialists. We do not compete with the specialised trade - its contrary, we even work together with specialists when it comes to the acquisition of replacement parts and consumables, for example. What we don't fix? That's difficult to say. We only carry out small repairs. That's why we don't take on large items such as televisions, refrigerators, etc. Sometimes it's just a screw... nevertheless, we don't want to create false expectations.
How did you come up with the idea of setting up a workshop with senior citizens?
There are similar projects in Switzerland - including in Werdenberg - where everyday objects are repaired. Personally, it is a thorn in my side that so many things are simply thrown away carelessly in our society. Hence our motto: Repair instead of throwing away! I implemented the project with senior citizens because retired people often have a lot of untapped potential. I know this not only because I am an older person myself, but also because of my function as President of the Foundation for Age-Related Work in the Sargans District, co-founder of the Cantonal Seniors' Council and long-standing member of the board of the old people's flats in Wangs.
In this case, you are pursuing several goals?
Exactly, on the one hand it is about repairing as many everyday and household items as possible instead of throwing them away. On the other hand, I want to show that people can also provide a valuable service to society after they retire. It has been proven that older people are happier and stay healthy longer if they feel that they are needed. Actually, I have another goal, which is to create a meeting place for young and old. We have planned a coffee shop for this. Unfortunately, we cannot open it yet because of the current Corona pandemic.
That must have been difficult, opening the ReparierBar in the middle of a pandemic?
Yes, we had to postpone the opening several times because of Corona. That took a lot of patience and, to be honest, a lot of nerves. We were very happy when we were finally allowed to open the ReparierBar in March, even if only in a reduced form and with strict protective measures. I was all the more pleased that I very quickly found the best-qualified craftsmen and women who joined in with verve and enthusiasm.
How do you finance the ReparierBar?
The effort of such a project should not be underestimated. For the start, the municipalities of Bad Ragaz, Mels, Sargans, Vilters-Wangs supported us financially. We have also received money from private individuals, foundations and all the service clubs in the area. We regularly need new tools and consumables as well as insurance and advertising. So we depend on donations, even though we don't ask for money for repairs. We ourselves all work on a voluntary basis. That means we do not receive any money. Our reward is the smile of people when they see that we were able to fix their centrepiece. And, if the customers want to donate something for the repair at their discretion, we are not angry either (laughs).
The ReparierBar is located in the Secondary School in Sargans. The next one will be on Saturday, 10 April. The broken items can be handed in at the reception from 9 am to 12 pm and, depending on the size of the repair, can be collected again after about an hour, but certainly between 2 pm and 4 pm. All information is available at www.reparierbar-sarganserland.com.
There is also a Repair Café in Werdenberg. It is located in the Brütwerk in the Scuola Vivante in Buchs. All information www.bruetwerk.ch.