Holding cutlery and being able to eat by yourself is a great boost to independence, so when Hazel could no longer hold cutlery or use any off-the-peg aids she worried for her future.

Then she remembered Remap, the charity that provides custom-made equipment for disabled people of all ages, free of charge. She contacted Remap on 01732 760209 and explained that she was unable to use the fingers of one hand and had limited arm movement as a result of post-polio syndrome. Something would have to be designed especially for her.

cutlery-aid-4Graham Stabler, a volunteer with Remap Oxford, came up with the solution for Hazel. His design is both elegant and functional as the finished item can go in the dishwasher. It comprises a bespoke handle into which a fork or spoon can be attached, enabling Hazel to eat independently. It has been made to perfectly fit the position of Hazel’s fingers, which she cannot change voluntarily.

Graham said “I really enjoy the challenge of solving problems like this and helping people like Hazel is extremely rewarding as the positive impact it has is very obvious.”

In another case, first-time mum Jenny faced new challenges in her life. She has only one functioning arm, so carrying her baby safely and changing its nappy looked like impossible tasks. Once again, Remap was able to help. The charity has over 900 volunteers, organised into local groups all across the UK so Allan, a volunteer from the Derby group was able to visit Jenny. He made two special pieces of equipment or her; a frame to hold baby’s feet up in the air while she changes its nappy and a safety harness that clips onto a lanyard Jenny wears around her neck whenever she is carrying her baby.

Other outstanding projects were recognised at Remap’s annual awards day in June including:

  • Yacht modifications for three ex-servicemen competing in disabled sailing
  • Mouth operated controls for a Sony e-reader for a woman with MS
  • Chair footrests for children with hearing impairments at a special school
  • Modifications to ride-on floor sweeper which help Chris stay in work
  • Adjustable wheelchair footrests for woman with MS

Remap is a charity that provides custom-made equipment for disabled people of all ages, free of charge. For over 50 years, this unassuming charity has been quietly helping thousands of disabled people to live more independently. It has a network of over 75 groups across England and Wales, so there is probably help near you.  For more information, visit the Remap website at www.remap.org.uk or phone the national office on 01732 760209.