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Blackdown Hills Transition Group


Repair Café packs hall with customers and repairers
A rainy day in Hemyock it may have been but that certainly didn’t deter visitors to the sixth Blackdown Hills Repair Café, completing the first year of our bi-monthly events.  The Parish Hall was packed with volunteer repairers and customers alike and we took in around 120 items during the morning, of which about 60% were  mended or fixed and another 15% either taken offsite for repair in a proper workshop or details given of where to access required spare parts.
Let me give you a couple more statistics.  At our launch in March 2018, we had 16 volunteer repairers, in January 2019 this figure was 28, covering electrical items, clothing and textiles, bikes, computers, garden tools and knife sharpening, clocks and watches, ceramics, jewellery and small items of furniture.  In fact, pretty much everything!  And when we began, there were 3 other Repair Cafes in Devon, now we are 8, with more at the starting blocks, including nearby Wellington. 
Here is a handful of comments from some of our customers. “The Repair Cafe is a treasure trove of practical skills”, “I was most impressed, not just by the service but by the lively atmosphere”, “Upcycling at its best!”, “Take it along to a Repair Café and let them work their magic”, “A village hall packed with enthusiastic volunteers with a multiplicity of skills”, and “There’s always a lovely warm atmosphere, where I meet old friends & new, have some homemade cake & a cup of tea. What’s not to like?!” 
And from one of our repairers:  I use each ‘job’ as a way to engage people in thinking about the repairs being carried out and how to purchase items based on a more repair-centric ideology. The positive and encouraging atmosphere shows there is huge support in the community for these concepts and  people clearly prefer to extend the life of items instead of simply buying new”.
So we at the Blackdown Hills Transition Group want to thank everyone who has been part of this enterprise – be they volunteer repairers, administrative helpers, loyal customers, Parish Councils and Magazine editors, media contacts, cake makers and anyone else we may have missed – for their wonderful support during our first year. We always welcome your comments and suggestions that can be made at  Hopefully, we shall see you at our next Repair Café in Hemyock on Saturday 23rd March.

>The Repair Café on YouTube

 Could Beavers save Britain from flooding?

The notion of ‘Re-Wilding’ can raise strong opinions on both sides of the debate. Locally this currently focuses on the Beaver. There is however national interest (the information below is from the Guardian newspaper) in their potential to reduce ‘downstream’ flooding.
The experimental site in Devon is vivid proof of how beavers create a wildlife paradise, re-engineering small valleys with amphibian- and insect-friendly ponds. Scientific studies show that their dams remove pollutants from water – they are particularly effective at filtering out harmful phosphates – and reduce floodwater peaks. Enthusiasts proclaim these large herbivores could become 21st-century water engineers, protecting towns from flooding. But some farmers hate beavers because their dams can also flood productive land.
But it’s the beavers’ water works that have really struck those studying the Devon site. During heavy rain, the volume of water flow increases rapidly above the site, creating a dramatic spike in the graph. But when the floodwater is measured again below the site, there is a gentle curve. In other words, the beavers dramatically reduce the peak flow of floodwater on this stream.
So, it appears that Beavers are good for wildlife & they could reduce the flooding in river valleys after heavy rainfall. However, they can also flood farm land so would need to be managed. As home owners we don’t want to be flooded, but neither do we want to lose significant farm land. I wonder what next year will bring for this famous West Country resident?

- Tim Clewer, Blackdown Hills Transition Group