A disabled woman trying to join Simming World to lose weight was told she couldn’t join because she was in a wheelchair.
Lisa McCann, 37, has juvenile arthritis and has been reliant on a wheelchair since she was five years old.
The mum-of-one from Liverpool decided to join Slimming World to try to lose some weight, which she said can be difficult for someone with little mobility.
But Lisa said she was left feeling upset and embarrassed after being turned away from a meeting at St Monica’s Parish Centre in Bootle, Merseyside.
She said: ‘I just went to the group to try and join. The consultant asked me if I could get out [of my wheelchair] and I said no, I can’t stand.
‘She said I wouldn’t be be able to get weighed. I asked if they had any facilities for people in wheelchairs. I said, “Can I just join the group to do the plan or could I measure myself?”.
‘She said, ‘No, I’ve got to weigh you’. She wasn’t interested. She wasn’t apologetic and didn’t look for a way to do anything.
‘It was upsetting and embarrassing.’
Lisa, whose nine-year-old son also suffers from the condition, has joined Slimming World online in the past but said she wanted to join a group for the extra support it can offer members.
A spokeswoman from Slimming World said afterwards: ‘We apologise deeply to Lisa for any distress she has been caused. The consultant whose group Lisa attended was wrong and she has apologised unreservedly to Lisa for the error.
‘Anyone who is struggling with their weight should be welcomed through our doors without any discrimination.
‘Many Slimming World groups welcome and support members with disabilities and we work with them to ensure that they find the most appropriate ways to record their weight and have access to our support.’
Slimming World’s website has a whole section dedicated to accessibility, with guidance for members who require wheelchair access.
The site says Slimming World consultants are able to give members information about wheelchair access in their venues, as well as answering questions about ramp access, parking spaces and disabled toilets.
It also says: ‘If you’re worried about the weighing in process, please do talk to your consultant about the options available.
‘The safest way for our disabled members to be weighed in is by a health professional, however some consultants may be able to offer alternative solutions if you would like to be weighed in group.’