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Age Friendly Case Study : Remap

2 May 2018

Remap is a charity which produces aids and equipment for people with disabilities where there are no suitable alternatives. This service is provided free of charge and is delivered entirely by volunteers.

Their volunteers are experienced engineers or craftsmen with access to a wide variety of skills and expertise. Remap Bristol is one of 80 local groups spread across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Each piece of equipment is tailor-made to suit the specific needs of one individual and is for their personal use only.

They usually work with health professionals like occupational therapists to make sure that the equipment meets the needs of each person.

Colin Sparrow is one of the volunteers at Remap Bristol. Colin is 73 years old, and is a retired engineer. Colin helped an older lady who moved into a flat with a shower she could not operate due to severe arthritis. Colin designed a light weight but strong spanner which could fit over the temperature and flow controls. It’s easy to grip handle meant that the shower controls could be operated with ease.


Colin Sparrow - Retired engineer and Remap volunteer


‘The spanner featured a large easy to grip handle, with shapes at one end to fit over the shower controls. With the extra leverage the too offered, the client was able to use her shower independently, without experiencing any discomfort or difficulty with the controls.’ Colin Sparrow

Shower handle Colin designed


Shower control the handle was fitted over


Colin also helped an older man who was very unsteady on his feet, and had a weak grip. His shower cubicle had an 8 inch (20cm) threshold step, which he could not manage independently, and did not have anything to hold onto whilst getting into or out of the shower. His Occupational Therapist had supplied a 4 inch (10cm) half step, but he still needed something to steady himself. Colin designed a half step made from wood and painted with non-slip strips on the base.


‘He was able to steady himself by just resting his hands on the handrails, without needed to grip tightly. He was able to get in and out of his shower without help, in comfort and with confidence.’ Colin Sparrow



4 inch half step designed by Colin Sparrow

This is a great example of the kind of solution that can be found to help an older person to continue living independently in their own home. And this fits under the aims within the Housing domain that Age Friendly Bristol is looking to help the city achieve. Colin is also a good example of an older person accessing a volunteering opportunity, which fulfils the ‘Civic Participation & Employment’ domain of Age Friendly Bristol.


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