Army of volunteers celebrate 50 years of transforming the lives of people with disabilities


Remap-Care Industry NewsThe past 50 years have seen the lives of over 100,000 people with disabilities – from athletes, to ex-service people, to children, parents and those who have retired – transformed by volunteers of national charity Remap, who have built equipment to help these individuals lead independent lives.


The charity, which celebrates its 50th birthday this month and now works in 80 branches across the UK, counts engineers, craftspeople, technicians and healthcare professionals among its army of over 1,000 volunteers who have devoted their time and expertise to turning around lives of individuals affected by disability. The volunteers carry out a full consultation with each client to understand their specific needs; using this information they design and build bespoke equipment that enables the individual to overcome challenges in undertaking everyday tasks and activities, providing a solution to a problem that cannot be answered by commercially available equipment.


Sue Lunn from Basingstoke has multiple sclerosis and uses an electronically powered wheelchair. She can drive an adapted car, but once she has transferred from the wheelchair to the car the wheelchair is marooned. Remap solved the problem using a remote control model aircraft system and adapted it so Sue could operate the controls on the wheelchair from the driving seat of the car. Sue says “ I always hoped there could be such a device. But Remap has made it a reality. I’m now free and independent and totally amazed”


Barry has been a volunteer with Remap for three years and says “this is the best thing I have ever done, I get more satisfaction and sheer life affirming joy and pleasure out of it than anything else. I had no idea  before this how much helping others adds to the sum of one’s own happiness”.


Adam Rowe, Chief Executive Officer of Remap commented:  “Remap has been transforming lives for 50 years based upon the selfless support from our volunteers over the years.  Every piece of equipment

enables people to try and undertake everyday tasks or help them achieve their ambitions.  I look forward to the next generation of volunteers signing up to volunteer with us to continue changing people’s lives.”


REMAP was formed in 1964 by Pat Johnson, a former Royal Engineer working for ICI at their Billingham plant. Pat had a sister who had had infantile polio, which presented her with physical problems in coping with

her day-to-day life. He built a wooden ramp up to his sister’s front door and also installed an electric hoist, with a runway, above the ceiling in the hallway, bathroom and toilet of the bungalow.  His sister was overjoyed with the ramp and hoist, as they immediately gave her a level of independence she had never enjoyed before. Pat was so impressed with the immense change his relatively simple improvements had made to his sister’s quality of life it led him to the concept of Remap and soon other engineers at ICI became involved with his idea and helped it to develop.  Remap has steadily grown over the past 50 years to cover 80 branches.


To find out about becoming a volunteer go to


We rely solely on donations and you can continue to help us transform lives by donating to us at



To arrange an interview with Adam Rowe, Chief Executive of Remap or with a beneficiary of our services, or for further information, please contact him on 0845 1300 456 or email


Examples of people Remap has helped include:


A stroke patient, for instance, living in Haywards Heath was paralysed on the left-hand side and also has dysphasia. She had been a prolific knitter all her life and required a device that would enable her to knit with

the right hand only. A Remap engineer came up with an ingenious solution that now allows the lady to knit squares one-handed, giving her therapeutic relaxation and also creating useful blankets for charitable applications.


A shift worker in Hove, with little upper body strength and legs virtually paralysed, wished to get into bed at night without the assistance of a carer. All types of transfer boards and low friction glide sheets had been tried, but two problems persisted: the man had insufficient strength to place a conventional board under his bottom and the board tended to slip during transfer. Remap engineers, in association with the local therapist, devised a unique transfer board that offers low friction, and can be attached to a pivot on the wheelchair. This provides a scissor action to assist in pushing it under him and also prevents it slipping during transfer.


A lady living in Hurstpierpoint had developed severe arthritis and experienced difficulty in holding and turning her car ignition key to start her car. The handle of her key was inserted into the end of a short wooden rod, which was covered with pipe insulation. This changed her method of holding and using her key and enabled her to continue to drive independently.


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