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Charity appeals for volunteers to help change the lives of those affected by disability

PUBLISHED: 08:00 07 February 2018 | UPDATED: 10:24 08 February 2018

Samantha Bridges is one of those to reap the benefits of Remap's good work. 
Picture: Antony Kelly

Samantha Bridges is one of those to reap the benefits of Remap's good work. Picture: Antony Kelly

Archant Norfolk 2018

A charity helping people with disabilities to live more independent lives is urgently seeking volunteers.

Remap provide custom-made solutions for those affected by disability. They installed a ramp for Ms Bridges after she had problems accessing her flat. 
Picture: Antony KellyRemap provide custom-made solutions for those affected by disability. They installed a ramp for Ms Bridges after she had problems accessing her flat. Picture: Antony Kelly

Remap has branches across the nation and works to provide free custom-made equipment for disabled people of any age.

Operations in the Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft area are overseen by chairman Brian Waters and secretary Jill Waters, whose team of volunteers have backgrounds in engineering, woodwork or simply a talent for making things.

However, as Remap’s stature grows and demand for their services increases, so does the need to maintain a sizeable pool of skilled practitioners.

“At the moment we are in dire need of volunteers, but it can very difficult to spread the word,” said Mr Waters.

“Recently the bulk of our jobs have been south of the River Waveney and we don’t have anywhere near enough volunteers there. All we ask of our volunteers is that they have a mode of transport and a workshop.”

An issue with lesser known charities such as Remap can be informing patients about their very existence, but health authorities are now well aware of the Yarmouth and Lowestoft branch’s work.

“A lot of our work comes via occupational therapists,” added Mrs Waters. “Hospitals and surgeries often refer patients to us, but some people get in touch by themselves.

Sam Frisby with his father Martin, mother Pamela and sister Amy. Sam's family went to Remap for help after his autism caused him to repeatedly smash his TV screens. Picture: Thomas ChapmanSam Frisby with his father Martin, mother Pamela and sister Amy. Sam's family went to Remap for help after his autism caused him to repeatedly smash his TV screens. Picture: Thomas Chapman

“People who enlist us have an advantage because we respond in good time and offer quick-fire solutions. It can be a challenge but we’re able to make a huge difference to people’s lives.”

The abundance of jobs coming Remap’s way is showing no signs of slowing down and Mr Waters emphasised how much of a pleasure it is to solve seemingly insurmountable problems.

“We’re one of the more active panels in the country; since April we’ve averaged at least 10 jobs a month,” he said.

“It’s quite amazing how creative we have to be. There was one lady with multiple sclerosis and her condition meant she was unable to play her violin, yet we came up with a solution.

“You don’t think about some of these issues until they actually affect you or someone you know.”

Anyone who would like to volunteer for Remap’s Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft branch should contact Brian Waters on 07760 532529 or email remapgy@gmail.com.

Case Study: Helping Sam Frisby

Remap designed a simple but effective frame so that Sam would no longer break his screens. Picture: Thomas ChapmanRemap designed a simple but effective frame so that Sam would no longer break his screens. Picture: Thomas Chapman

If ever there was an example of Remap providing a specialist service, look no further than the help given to Sam Frisby and his family.

Thirteen-year-old Sam, who lives in Great Yarmouth, suffers from severe autism which often results in destructive tendencies.

Due to unforeseeable episodes of anger, Sam has broken numerous television screens throughout his childhood and constantly replacing them was no longer an option for parents Pamela and Martin Frisby.

“For Sam to keep breaking screens was neither safe nor financially viable,” said Mr Frisby.

“We got in touch with Brian and he’s done a brilliant job in making a frame that covers his screens.”

Mrs Frisby added: “Sam was very suspicious at first and annoyed because he couldn’t get to his screens, but he hasn’t broken any since and he’s calmer because of it.

“Saving money is obviously a big factor but the most important thing is having peace of mind because Sam is safe.”

Remap are looking for more volunteers to help make simple but effective changes to people's lives.  Picture: Antony KellyRemap are looking for more volunteers to help make simple but effective changes to people's lives. Picture: Antony Kelly

Case Study: Helping Samantha Bridges

One of those to benefit from Remap’s help is Samantha Bridges, a community healthcare assistant whose life was altered dramatically last year when a slipped disc shot into her spine and caused her to have a stroke.

With Ms Bridges confined to a wheelchair and doctors unsure of whether she will walk again, she was assigned temporary ground floor accommodation in Great Yarmouth but faced issues accessing her new flat.

A phone call to Remap later, Brian Waters visited the flat and it wasn’t long before Ms Bridges’ problem was solved.

She said: “The NHS would have fitted a heavy suitcase-style ramp, which is all well and good when someone’s with me but not so good when I’m alone.

“Brian came to assess what I needed and soon he’d installed a custom-made ramp; he and Jill really have worked wonders.

“Since then, Remap have helped me with countless other issues and you really can’t ask for any better from a voluntary organisation.”

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