Slimming World has apologised to a disabled mother who was wrongly 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 mother-of-one, from Liverpool, decided to join Slimming World because losing weight can be difficult for someone with little mobility, she said.
But Ms McCann said she was left feeling upset and embarrassed after being turned away from a meeting at St Monica’s Parish Centre in Bootle, Merseyside, because of her wheelchair.
Lisa McCann, 37, was left upset and embarrassed after Swimming World wrongly told her she couldn’t join because she was in a wheelchair
Ms McCann has juvenile arthritis and has been reliant on a wheelchair since she was five years old. She wanted to join Slimming World because her disability made it difficult to lose weight
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.’
Ms McCann, 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: ‘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.
After she was wrongly told she could not join, Slimming World issued a grovelling apology and said slimmers are welcome regardless of their disabilities
St Monica’s Parish Centre in Bootle, Merseyside, where Lisa McCann was turned away from a Swimming World meeting because of her wheelchair
‘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.’