Mansfield Leisure Services say all the town’s gyms are accessible for disabled customers after family of disabled man said he was unable to use them

NEWS: News.
NEWS: News.

Mansfield’s leisure services chiefs say all the town’s gyms have equipment accessible for disabled customers after a mum claimed her disabled son was unable to use them.

Brenon Coates, who is recovering from car crash injuries found recently that the hand bike equipment he used at the Rebecca Adlington gym was no longer suitable for him.

The changes have left his family upset and they are now calling for them to be reversed.

Labour councillors say disabled people have had problems since the town’s leisure services were taken over by private provider Serco.

Brian Taylor, Chair of Mansfield District Leisure Trust, said: “We’re very sorry for the difficulties Brenon has experienced with our gym equipment.

“We recently replaced the majority of the gym equipment with new, higher quality kit that can be adjusted to individual users – disabled and non-disabled – to provide better exercise results.

He said the gym now has a dual action pulley which is specifically designed for wheelchair users that can be adjusted to fit any wheelchair and provides more than 200 different exercises.

The hand-bike referred to is the same piece of equipment that was available previously.

Mr Taylor added: “We have given our staff additional disability training to help them adapt the equipment to specific disability needs.

“We would like to invite Brenon and his physiotherapist to join us at the gym so that we can work together to find the best way to adapt the equipment to his requirements.”

He added; “All leisure centres in Mansfield have equipment that is accessible for disabled customers, and our staff are trained to support individuals in adjusting equipment to meet their specific needs and requirements.”

But Coun Martin Lee, Leader of the Labour Group said: “Many disabled people have told us that this has been a problem for months if not years since Serco took over management of our leisure centres.

“Labour Councillors highlighted the problem last year and in October forced through a motion requiring the Council to carry out an audit of our sports centre to assess whether they are fit for use by disabled customers.

“Three months later we’re no further forward as Mr Coates’ case demonstrates.”

Last year Serco announced it was looking to find another buyer after running the leisure services for two years.

A spokesman said following a review of Serco during 2014, Serco determined that the leisure business was well positioned for growth and that it would be more successful under independent ownership.

A process was underway to identify a preferred buyer and discussions with Mansfield District Leisure Trust and Mansfield District Council are taking place.

The spokesman said the change in ownership will have no impact on the service delivered on the ground and the same quality service will be delivered by the same centre staff and management team.