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Support the disabled

Letters

REMAP is a national charity formed by engineers who volunteer their skills and experience to help those in difficulties, principally the disabled. RedR does it internationally - we do it in the UK.

REMAP was started about 30 years ago and now has about 2,000 engineers organised in 100 panels.

REMAP offers little scope for pure civil engineering but gives plenty of scope for the general and imaginative engineering which I believe our training and experience prepares us for, more than any other branch of engineering.

Although my professional life has been very busy and allowed me the privilege of becoming a fellow of the ICE, I have found enormous fulfilment in being able to use all the skills of an engineer to help the disabled.

REMAP panels respond to requests for help from individuals or their parents, from teachers in special schools and from nurses in hospitals for the disabled. The projects range from modifying commercially made products to suit the special needs of the individual, to inventing new devices. The latter usually mature from discussions with the carers who have some idea of what would be useful, but do not have the experience to know what is practicable or the skills to make it.

I have worked for REMAP for 15 years and produced more than 100 items. These range from a simple length of plastic pipe which a lady with a weak arm uses to open a back door to let her dog out, to a very difficult device which creates moving sound. This is used to find if very poorly children can hear anything.

Other devices include modifying the pedals on a child's bike so that his feet could not drag on the road and a recorded message teaching aid for children with cerebral palsy.

REMAP has a central office whose duties include arranging insurance cover for us and producing quarterly newsletters and a yearly handbook. As we are a charity supported by donations - big and small - we offer our work free of charge, These funds contribute to the engineers' materials and travelling costs of doing the work.

To conclude, I recommend your involvement in REMAP because there is a great need for your help, and because if you join a group, it will give you the opportunity to use you innate creativity and engineering skills to help those less fortunate then ourselves.

If you are interested in joining a group or have a problem which you think we might be able to help you with - or just as importantly, wish to contribute to our funds - please contact our national organiser John Wright at 'Hazeldene', Ightham, Sevenoaks, Kent TN15 9AD, or me on (01403) 261854.

David Heaps (F), 28 Stirling Way, Horsham, Sussex, RH13 5RP

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