Belfast Telegraph

Boy with prosthetic legs receives £2,500 after not being allowed on trampolines

Zack Gordon, 10, settled his disability discrimination case against We Are Vertigo trampoline park in Belfast.

Patrick Gordon and his son Zack at their home in Killyleagh, Co Down (Pacemaker/Equality Commission/PA)
Patrick Gordon and his son Zack at their home in Killyleagh, Co Down (Pacemaker/Equality Commission/PA)

By Rebecca Black, PA

A 10-year-old boy with prosthetic legs has received £2,500 after not being allowed to use a trampoline.

Zack Gordon, from Co Down, was seven in July 2017 when he visited We Are Vertigo trampoline park in Belfast.

He was told he could not use the trampolines and was offered other activities.

Zack’s father Patrick said his son was left feeling upset and sad after he was not allowed on to the trampolines.

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Zack Gordon from Co Down, who has prosthetic legs, has received £2,500 after being refused to use trampolines at a trampoline park in Belfast. (Pacemaker Press/Equality Commission/PA)

They took a disability discrimination case against We Are Vertigo, with the assistance of the Equality Commission, which has been settled for £2,500.

Mr Gordon described his son’s prosthetic legs as being plastic/fibre-glass with rubber feet.

“He went with the Killyleagh Summer programme to We Are Vertigo, where he watched the safety video and was given a wristband and socks for using the trampolines along with all the other kids,” he said.

“Zack was then told he couldn’t use the trampolines. He was upset and sad and when he got home he stayed in his room. His mother and I were angry and hurt.”

Anne McKernan, director of legal services at the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland, said: “The Disability Discrimination Act includes a proactive duty which requires service providers to think about what adjustments they should make to their services to ensure that people with a disability can access them.

Service providers should anticipate that those with a disability will want to access their services and they should give thought in advance to what reasonable adjustments will help to ensure that their services are available to all Anne McKernan, Equality Commission for Northern Ireland

“Play is a vital part of growing up for all children and parents of disabled children will be keenly aware of the importance of focusing on what their children can do, rather than on what they cannot.

“Service providers should anticipate that those with a disability, both adults and children, will want to access their services and they should give thought in advance to what reasonable adjustments will help to ensure that their services are available to all.”

In settling the case, We Are Vertigo agreed to liaise with the Equality Commission in respect of access to its services for disabled customers and to make contact with the commission within 12 weeks of the date of the settlement.

It also agreed to implement any reasonable recommendations made by the commission.

In a statement, We Are Vertigo said it offers a range of activities to customers with prosthetic limbs, including its indoor ski and climbing facilities in Newtownbreda and indoor skydiving and Ninja Master Courses in the Titanic Quarter.

The former trampoline park at Newtownbreda was replaced with a new Inflatable Park in January 2019, and trampolines are no longer available at the facility.

“Operating as a responsible business in this sector, there are important safety protocols and considerations that we must adhere to,” a spokeswoman said.

“In this case, at our former trampoline park in Newtownbreda, guidance from the manufacturers of the trampoline equipment and restrictions from our insurance company meant we were unable to provide access to the customer.

We welcome continued correspondence with the Equality Commission on our policies for access, whilst ensuring that we adhere to important health and safety guidance We Are Vertigo

“For safety reasons, we were advised that patrons with prosthetic limbs were not permitted to use the equipment; this is a known issue with trampolines and other high adrenaline sports and adventure activities and not isolated to our facilities.

“We are committed to ensuring our facilities can be enjoyed by people of varying levels of ability.

“We have gone to great lengths to provide access to our facilities to people with many disabilities, including weekly sessions for children and young adults with autism and other sensory conditions at our new Inflatable Parks.

“We welcome continued correspondence with the Equality Commission on our policies for access, whilst ensuring that we adhere to important health and safety guidance.”

PA

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