WHAT a magnificent idea the Repair Café is.

Savernake Street Social Hall has gone from strength to strength in recent years since residents took over its running, with many fine community activities taking place there.

The latest idea is to host a café whereby people can take along their broken bits and bobs and meet up with people who have the know-how to fix them.

Not only will this save people the cost of replacement or pricey repairs but they will hopefully learn a few skills into the bargain. Dr Bike, for instance, will be there to advise on bicycle maintenance and pass on some of his skills to others.

As well as saving money, which is not to be sniffed at given the economic climate, the Repair Café will help reduce landfill as loved items are restored to working glory rather than simply being thrown on the scrapheap.

In the middle of last century this would not have been an unusual idea at all, as many families ‘made do and mended’, turning collars and cuffs, repurposing old bed sheets as dusters and the like.

But the consumer generation - and the enthusiasm of big companies for producing life-limited goods - has seen us move away from the culture of hand-me-downs and the concept of mending altogether in many cases.

As well as the economic and environmental benefits this café offers, it will also act as a social hub, creating new friendships and bringing the community closer together, which can only be another bonus.

The Repair Café idea began in the Netherlands five years ago and we’re delighted to welcome it to Swindon, where we are sure it will be a huge success.