Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland boy (10) with prosthetic legs awarded £2,500 over We Are Vertigo trampoline ban

Zack Gordon
Zack Gordon

BY ADRIAN RUTHERFORD

A 10-year-old boy with prosthetic legs who was told he was not allowed to use a trampoline has received a £2,500 settlement.

The family of Zack Gordon, from Killyleagh, Co Down, took a disability discrimination case against We Are Vertigo in Belfast.

It follows an incident in July 2017 when, on a visit to the company's former trampoline park in Newtownbreda, he was stopped from using the trampolines because of his prosthetic legs.

Zack's family said he was left upset and sad.

Although they offered him other things to do, Zack said he did not want to leave his friends.

A disability discrimination case, taken by his father Patrick with the assistance of the Equality Commission, has been settled for £2,500.

Mr Gordon explained: "Zack was only seven when this happened.

"His prosthetic legs are 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.

"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.

Zack Gordon
Zack Gordon

"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 requires companies to ensure that people with a disability can access their services.

She added: "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 said it was committed to the principle of equality of opportunity and agreed to liaise with the Equality Commission in respect of access to its services for disabled customers.

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

A spokesperson for We Are Vertigo said: "The enjoyment and safety of all of our patrons is of utmost importance to We Are Vertigo.

"We have invested greatly in the development of state-of-the-art leisure facilities, bringing new leisure concepts and experiences to Northern Ireland over the last number of years.

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

"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.

"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."

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