Skegness amusement arcade bans mobility scooters

Simon Sansome, 39, was enjoying a family getaway in Ingoldmells, Skegness, Lincolnshire, on Wednesday when he says he was asked to leave Bells Amusement Arcade by an employee

A disabled holidaymaker claims he was booted out of an amusement arcade – because they have ‘banned mobility scooters’.

Simon Sansome, 39, was enjoying a family getaway in Ingoldmells, Skegness, Lincolnshire, on Wednesday when he says he was asked to leave Bells Amusement Arcade by an employee.

The disability activist, who is paralysed from the waist down, was horrified to spot a sign up in their window claiming due to a ‘management decision’ mobility scooters were ‘no longer allowed in the establishment’ – due to ‘accidents with customers’.

Simon Sansome, 39, was enjoying a family getaway in Ingoldmells, Skegness, Lincolnshire, on Wednesday when he says he was asked to leave Bells Amusement Arcade by an employee

Simon Sansome, 39, was enjoying a family getaway in Ingoldmells, Skegness, Lincolnshire, on Wednesday when he says he was asked to leave Bells Amusement Arcade by an employee

Mr Sansome was at the Bells Amusement Arcade, pictured, along with his family

Mr Sansome was at the Bells Amusement Arcade, pictured, along with his family 

Mr Sansome, who runs a blog raising awareness of disability access issues, claims he has since tried getting in touch with the arcade to speak to the manager, but has received no answer.

He slammed the decision as ‘ridiculous’ and ‘obscene’ as he says he was not offered a manual wheelchair or any other alternative way to enjoy the venue.

The sign reads: ‘Please note – mobility scooters are no longer allowed within this establishment. This is a decision made due to the amount of accidents involving other customers just lately.

‘We have manual wheelchairs for your use. Please see a member of staff who will assist you with this.’

Mr Sansome, from Leicester, Leicestershire, said: ‘How dare they tell me what is best for me to use in their facility. It’s not like they’re a medical practitioner – it’s ridiculous.

The amusement arcade has erected a sign explaining its decision to outlaw mobility scooters, claiming they have manual wheelchairs available

The amusement arcade has erected a sign explaining its decision to outlaw mobility scooters, claiming they have manual wheelchairs available

‘I use my mobility scooters for long days out – it’s a lot more comfortable than my wheelchair, and it’s more durable to go up and down slopes and kerbs.

‘I was not offered a manual wheelchair, and I can’t use a manual wheelchair independently. That’s why I have a mobility scooter and an electric wheelchair.

‘It’s absolutely obscene. It’s definitely discrimination.

‘Where do you draw the line? First it’s myself who’s got spinal damage. What about somebody who has a learning difficulty or a mental health issue? Are we going to ban everyone?

‘They gave me no justification for the decision, none whatsoever. They just said it was management’s decision.

‘What I want to happen is for them to change their policy and let people who need to use these scooters into the building.

‘It’s not a mobility issue, I could get around the building just fine. There were people with pushchairs and wheelchairs, and nobody had an issue getting around.

‘What I imagine they might be concerned about – and I can understand this – is that because there’s so many lights and noises going on, kids will be really distracted.

‘I didn’t bump into anybody, but people were almost walking into me, so perhaps that’s what they were concerned about.

‘I can appreciate that, but it doesn’t mean you ban people from your building.

‘It wasn’t the employee’s decision, she did feel really guilty. She’d just started there – the last thing I want to do is get her into trouble.

‘She just told me it was management’s decision.’

Mr Sansome, who catalogues a lot of disability discrimination for his blog Ability Access and while campaigning, says this is the first time he's been asked to leave a facility

Mr Sansome, who catalogues a lot of disability discrimination for his blog Ability Access and while campaigning, says this is the first time he’s been asked to leave a facility

Mr Sansome, who catalogues a lot of disability discrimination for his blog Ability Access and while campaigning, says this is the first time he’s been asked to leave a facility.

He said: ‘That’s the first time anybody has come up to me and said, ‘I’m sorry, you have to leave. Management has told us we’re not allowed mobility scooters in here.’

‘I asked her, ‘How do you expect me to get around? I’m paralysed from the waist down’, and she said, ‘I’m really sorry, it’s management’s decision.’

‘It’s so bold, it’s stupid. I’ve tried getting in touch with the manager a number of times. When I first called later in the day, the receptionist told me they were in an emergency meeting.

‘I called back the following day – multiple times – and nobody was picking up.’

A representative for The Bell Group – who run several entertainment facilities in Lincolnshire – refused to comment ‘until they have spoken to [Mr Sansome] directly’.

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