Volunteer Mission Statement

Repair Café Ledbury (RCLedbury) is committed to providing a high quality, dependable and honest advice and repair service to all its customers. Everyone is welcome, and the organisers endeavour to ensure that all volunteers, visitors and customers enjoy the best possible Repair Café experience.

This Volunteer Policy demonstrates our commitment to our volunteers, our consistency in our decision-making process and clarity on how volunteers can expect to be treated in their roles within RCLedbury.

1.  Introduction

RCLedbury is a volunteer-led community project that offers a range of social, environmental and economic benefits to its local community. Its main aim is to highlight the merits of repairing a personal or household possession instead of throwing it away. It offers a social meeting place where people of all ages and backgrounds can bring their damaged, broken or torn possessions to be repaired. Thus, it recognises and values those who have a wide range of hands-on practical and inter-personal skills and relies on its committed team of volunteers to deliver and maintain a high-quality and reliable repair and advice service.  There is no charge but customers are encouraged to leave a donation.

2.  Recruitment

Volunteers are usually recruited by word of mouth or through local publicity. New volunteers are invited to meet one of the co-ordinators for a very informal interview and asked to complete a Volunteer Application form giving their contact details, information on the skills they can offer and other useful information. They are also asked to disclose any serious health issues and to complete an Emergency Contact form.

RCLedbury does not carry out DBS checks or take up references. All volunteers are recruited on the basis of trust, honesty and friendship.

3.  Induction and Training

A full explanation of how a Repair Café session operates is given at the pre-Repair Café meeting. Non-repairers are given the opportunity to select a role to which they feel most suited, e.g. front-of house, café or kitchen duties. Volunteers are encouraged to ask to move to another role if they so wish and should discuss this with the Co-ordinators in the first instance. Every effort is made to ensure that volunteers are happy and comfortable with what is being asked of them.

Repairers are not required to show proof of their professional qualifications and/or training and they should only attempt repairs for which they have the necessary skills, competence and expertise. Repairers are encouraged to work together and learn from each other.

4.  Equal Opportunities and Diversity

RCLedbury is committed to equal opportunities. Those from different backgrounds, age groups, cultures, genders and outlooks are encouraged to volunteer to increase diversity and offer a fresh approach. Volunteers with a disability are also welcome.

5.  Health and Safety

RCLedbury accepts that it has a duty of care to avoid exposing its volunteers, visitors and customers to any risks which may affect their health, safety and well-being. The Emergency Contact form completed by all volunteers names a relative or friend who can be contacted in the event of an emergency. A Risk Assessment covering the normal activities undertaken at RCLedbury sessions is available to all volunteers on request.

This is reviewed and updated on an ongoing basis, particularly in relation the Covid-19 pandemic.

All volunteers are expected to take responsibility for their own health and safety whilst on the premises and follow the correct safety procedures when fulfilling their RCLedbury roles.

6.  Insurance

In addition to the Public Liability insurance provided at the current venue, Burgage Hall, Church Lane, Ledbury, RCLedbury has additional public liability insurance arranged under the Repair Café Herefordshire and Worcestershire project.

7.  Confidentiality

Unless notified to the contrary, it is assumed that volunteers are happy that their personal email addresses are shared amongst the volunteer team. Details provided on the Volunteer Application Form and Emergency Contact Form are never shared with other volunteers.

Customers are asked to provide an email address when completing the RCMH registration form so that they can be informed about future Repair Café events. These are confidential and added to the RCLedbury mailing list. When reminder messages about Repair Café events are sent to customers, they are always blind-copied (bcc) to protect their privacy.

8.  Expenses

No volunteer should ever be out-of-pocket and reimbursement of any reasonable purchases or other expenses is made as soon as possible. Volunteers are asked to produce a receipt if possible. If a purchase is made via the internet, a copy of the e-invoice should be passed to one of the co-ordinators. Volunteers are encouraged to ask the organisers for any specific tools, consumables or equipment they need.

9.  Problem-Solving

In the event of a problem or concern, volunteers are asked to speak to one of the Co-ordinators in the first instance.

10.  Roles and Responsibilities of the Repairers / Sewing Team

  1. All repairers are reminded that RCLedbury acts as a ‘clinic’ and not a ‘hospital’. With this in mind, repairers are asked to make as quick a diagnosis of a problem as possible and a decision on whether to proceed with the repair. If a repair is likely to take a long time, the repairer should consider whether it is worth their time to
  2. Repairers have the right to refuse any item for repair that:
    • is likely to take too long to fix
    • requires extra consumables such as plugs and fuses that the customer has not provided
    • requires specialist skills and/or equipment and tools that are not available at the Repair Café
    • is considered to be a potential danger to the repairer
    • is in so bad a state of disrepair/damage that a repair is unlikely to succeed and could be a potential hazard to the repairer and the customer
    • is too dirty/unpleasant to handle or too badly torn to make a repair viable
  3. If a repairer is unable or does not wish to attempt a repair for any reason, s/he is not required to justify this decision but should offer as much advice as possible to the
  4. Repairers are expected to involve the customer in the repair of the item as much as is safely and practically possible. They are also expected to share their skills with the
  5. It is not the policy of RCLedbury that repairers should take items home in order to complete a repair. Should a repairer wish to make a private arrangement with a customer, it is at the sole discretion and responsibility of the repairer and contact details should be exchanged. As a precaution, it is preferable to also inform the management that such an arrangement has been made.
  6. Customers are not supposed to leave an item with a repairer and collect it later in the morning. Should a customer wish to do this, repairers should refer to a Co-ordinator for a decision, as this situation may be acceptable in extenuating circumstances

11.     Roles and Responsibilities of Reception / Front-of-House

As the first point of contact, the reception volunteers should greet all visitors and customers with a smile and make them feel welcome. Reception and front-of-house volunteers work closely together, the latter acting as the interface between registration and the repair zone.

Volunteers have a responsibility to:

  • Treat everyone fairly and with respect and be polite at all times;
  • Clearly explain the registration and repair zone procedures to all first-time customers;
  • Check customers’ items brought for repair so that the correct details are recorded on the registration form;
  • Offer assistance to members of the public who have mobility or other issues;
  • Deal with any difficult situation arising with a member of the public in a calm, firm and polite manner and refer the matter to the organiser;
  • Direct customers to the café area after registration and keep them regularly informed in the event of any delay in starting the repair;
  • Ensure that customers’ items for repair are stored safely and do not present a trip hazard in the café or reception

12.     Role and Responsibilities of the Co-ordinators

  • To keep all volunteers safe and secure during each session;
  • To ensure that volunteers feel comfortable and contented in their roles;
  • To ensure that every new volunteer is welcomed and works alongside a regular to help them get used to the system;
  • To provide free refreshments to all volunteers throughout the session. Volunteers are asked to notify the Co-ordinators if they have any special dietary requirements that are not being met;
  • To encourage volunteers to give regular feedback and promptly fulfil requests for tools and/or consumables;
  • To consult all volunteers in the event of any planned changes and to treat all comments and opinions equally and with respect. However, the Co-ordinators reserve the right to make the final decision when a consensus cannot be reached. The future viability of RCLedbury is always the top priority in any decision;
  • To respect and value everyone’s contribution to the project and do its best to meet the individual wishes of each volunteer;
  • To ensure that all customers and volunteers are welcomed and treated politely and fairly.

Susanna Perkins and Anne Crane – Co-ordinators January 2020