Mother hits out at Wakefield Council pool facilities for the disabled

A frustrated mother has hit out at council leisure facilities, claiming they are simply inadequate for people with severe disabilities.

By Nick Frame
Friday, 16th August 2019, 12:50 pm
Updated Friday, 16th August 2019, 1:50 pm
Tracy Johnson and her daughter Jamie Lee.
Tracy Johnson and her daughter Jamie Lee.

Tracy Johnson’s daughter Jamie Lee, 27, has cerebral palsy, microcephaly and muscle problems and relies on swimming as her only opportunity for gentle exercise.

With little use of her arms or legs and requiring round-the-clock care, the only centre in the district with the required equipment is Sun Lane in Wakefield where she attends four times a week. But a catalogue of issues often means Jamie Lee has to be turned away.

Tracy says there is only one changing room with a hoist which can often be occupied, the hoist into the specially-adapted studio pool is often broken and they are sometimes unable to lower the pool floor.

Tracy, who lives in Streethouse, also said that during school holidays there often seems like a shortage of staff meaning the studio pool is closed.

She said: “It’s important Jamie Lee goes swimming and gets out of her wheelchair and Sun Lane is the only one she can go to but it’s always broken. It’s important for her to have that freedom in the water, to be able to move about. We are paying for a membership which is a waste of time and money.

“It’s being going on for years.

“The staff are really good, but their hands that are tied. If they can help us they will.”

Council spokesman Tom Stannard, apologised for the inconvenience regarding the broken hoist, adding: “We fully agree that it needs to be properly resolved and are doing our best to make this happen as soon as possible.

“There are no staffing issues but there are times when additional lifeguards may be needed in the main pool. The safety of our customers is paramount.

“We would be very happy to talk to Ms Johnson and see what we can do to help so that she is not paying for a service she cannot access.”