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Dr A. Clarke, Chairman of Bath Branch of REMAP, on 12 December 2002
REMAP is a voluntary organisation of around 1,500 engineers, technicians and craftspeople throughout the UK. They have area organisers in five regions of England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man. In their spare time they devise one-off aids for individual disabled people. The aim is to provide bespoke equipment not available commercially.
Dr Clarke showed slides of a number of examples that included:
• a baby carrier to fit on a wheelchair; with the baby facing the adult;
• a' three-quarter' chair seat for a person with a rigid hip who needed to keep her leg straight when sitting down; one side of the seat is half as long as the other, normal, side
• a head restraint, an alternative to a neck collar, to hold up a person's head when sitting down;
• a bicycle trailer with two rear wheels for a child, attached to his father's bicycle.
• An elevating wheeled chair
• A cricket bat for a one-armed bowler
• A can holder for ring-pull cans for those with weak hand grip
These devices are, if simple, generally made within a couple of months, but more complicated ones may require over a year to get right.
Another organisation - Bath Institute of Medical Engineering - carries out similar work and Dr Clarke is Chairman of that also. It looks to potential commercial solutions, not only to aids for disabled people but also for medical equipment.
REMAP, Bath covers vaguely the area of Bath Health District. There are also branches in Bristol, Swindon and Gloucester.
Potential users are most often referred to REMAP by occupational therapists, but self-referral also occurs.
The safety of the equipment designed has not yet been challenged but insurance is held to cover any claims.
There is no formal arrangement for exchange of information between branches but a Year Book publishes descriptions and pictures of the most interesting devices produced each year. It was suggested that an e-mail discussion group could be instituted to connect branches more frequently and to contact overseas organisations doing similar work.
See their web site www.remap.org.uk for more information. They always welcome more volunteers and more referrals.