Volunteer Policy

Mission Statement

Totally Leighton Buzzard and the Repair Café Leighton Buzzard is committed to providing a high quality, dependable and transparent advice and repair service to all our visitors. Everyone is welcome and we endeavour to ensure that all volunteers and visitors enjoy the best possible Repair Café experience.

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


The Repair Café Leighton Buzzard is a volunteer-led community project that offers a range of social, environmental  and economic benefits to its local community. Our main aim is to enable the repairing of a personal or household possession instead of throwing it away. We offer a social meeting place where people of all ages and backgrounds can bring their damaged, broken or torn possessions to be repaired. This means we recognise and value those who have a wide range of hands-on practical and interpersonal skills and rely on a committed team of volunteers to deliver and maintain a high-quality and reliable repair and advice service. There is no charge but visitors are welcome  to leave a donation.


Volunteers are recruited by word of mouth, by the publicity we send out and our website, or as the result of visiting the Repair Café.. New volunteers are invited to visit an event and asked to complete a Volunteer Application form giving their contact details, information on the skills they can offer and the reason they wish to volunteer. They are also asked to disclose any serious health issues and to complete  an Emergency Contact form.

We do not carry out DBS checks or take up references. We may ask volunteers to assist a more experienced member at their first session, or at any time if they need more support.

Induction and Training

A full explanation of how a repair café session operates is given at the pre-repair café meeting. We ask volunteers, particularly non-repairers, what role they would like. 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 but 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 and to involve visitors wherever possible.

Equal Opportunities and Diversity

Totally Leighton Buzzard is committed to the promotion of equal opportunities through the way we manage the group and run events. No person should suffer or experience less favourable treatment, discrimination or lack of opportunities on any of the grounds set out in the Equality Act 2010. We welcome volunteers and visitors from diverse backgrounds.

Health and Safety

Totally Leighton Buzzard accepts that it has a duty of care to avoid exposing our volunteers and 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 Repair Café sessions is available to all volunteers on request. This is reviewed and updated on an annual basis.

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 Repair Café roles.


In addition to the Public Liability insurance provided at the current venue, Totally Leighton Buzzard has additional public liability insurance to cover all the higher risk activities listed in the Risk Assessment.


Unless notified to the contrary, it is assumed that volunteers are happy that their personal email addresses and optional contact phone number are shared with the Repair Cafe organising team. These details are not shared with other volunteers or Repair Cafe visitors.

Volunteers are asked to provide their email address when completing the Repair Cafe registration form so that they can be informed about future Repair Café events. Reminder messages about Repair Café events will be sent via email, which can be unsubscribed from at any point.

Volunteers are asked to provide their phone number if they wish to receive SMS or calls in case of urgent updates, for example a repair cafe event being cancelled at short notice.


No volunteer should ever be out-of-pocket and reimbursement of any purchases or other expenses will be made as soon as possible for agreed purchases on behalf of the Repair Cafe. 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 Edwina Osborne. Motor mileage and subsistence expenses are currently not covered. Volunteers are encouraged to ask the organisers for any specific tools, consumables or equipment they need.


In the event of a problem or concern, volunteers are asked to speak to Edwina, Karen or Marsha in the first instance.

Roles and Responsibilities of the Repairers / Sewing Team

a. All repairers are reminded that the Repair Café Leighton Buzzard 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 proceed.

b. 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 client 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 client

  • is too dirty/unpleasant to handle or too badly torn to make a repair viable

  • is still in warranty

c. 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 client.

d. Repairers are expected to involve the client in the repair of the item as much as is safely and practically possible. They are also asked to share their skills with the client when appropriate.

e. It is not the policy of the Repair Café that repairers should take items home in order to complete a repair. Should a repairer wish to make a private arrangement with a client, it is at the sole discretion and responsibility of the repairer and contact details should be exchanged. As a precaution, it is preferable to and inform the management team that such an arrangement has been made.

f. visitors are not supposed to leave an item with a repairer and collect it later.  Should a visitor wish to do this, repairers should refer to Edwina for a decision, as this situation may be acceptable in extenuating circumstances.

Roles and Responsibilities of Reception / Front-of-House

As the first point of contact, the reception volunteers should greet all visitors 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 clients;

  • Check clients' 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 clients to the café area after registration and keep them regularly informed in the event of any delay in moving to the repair zone;

  • Ensure that clients' items for repair are stored safely and do not present a trip hazard in the café or reception area.

  • If someone arrives with a pet please advise them that pets are not allowed on the premises

Role and Responsibilities of the Organisers

  • 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 Edwina, Marsha or Karen 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 organisers reserve the right to make the final decision when a consensus cannot be reached. The sustainability of Repair Café 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 visitors and volunteers are welcomed and treated politely and fairly.

19 February 2023 - Totally Leighton Buzzard