IF you've got a holey sock, a bike with a broken chain or a kettle that won't boil, you could get it repaired for free as part of an initiative about to go live on the Blackdown Hills.

A repair cafe will try to match up owners of items that might otherwise be chucked out in the rubbish to expert menders with skills in danger of dying out.

The aim is to reverse our throwaway society mentality and at the same time pass down skills that would otherwise be lost forever.

Trisha Comrie, of the Blackdown Hills Transition Group, said the first repair cafe is being held in Hemyock Village Hall on Saturday, March 24, from 10am to 1pm, and thereafter on the fourth Saturday of alternate months until the end of the year.

She said: "It's going to be a social community event all about sharing and swapping skills.

"A lot of skills needed for repairing are quickly dying out as we have a throwaway culture.

"The idea of the repair cafe is that we can save a lot of precious resources that would otherwise go to the tip and get people to pass on repairing skills."

A total of 18 volunteer repairers with skills ranging from clothing and textiles to bikes, small electrical items, garden tools, small furniture, computers and toys have already signed up to take part. Organisers are also appealing for more electricians with PAT testing kits and computer buffs.

People having items repaired will not be charged, although they will be asked for a small donation to help fund the project.

They will be able to sit, watch and chat to the repairers and hopefully pick up the knowledge and ability to carry out repairs themselves in the future.

The idea behind repair cafes, where visitors can enjoy refreshments as they wait, started in Amsterdam nine years ago and there are now more than 1,300 worldwide. Members of the Blackdown Hills Transition Group have visited similar schemes in Tiverton and Exeter.

They also plan to hold the cafes in some of the other 13 parishes on the Blackdowns in the future.

Anyone interested in volunteering should contact Trisha Comrie by e-mail at trishacomrie@gmail.com or phone 01823-602908.