A WHEELCHAIR user claims she was denied access to a new ladies-only gym in Frinton due to a lack of accessible entrance points.

Grace Wolstenholme, 20, attended Sparkle Ladies Gym, in Connaught Avenue, on June 23 for its open day.

She regularly attends a gym to help keep fit and healthy.

Upset - Grace WolstenholmeUpset - Grace Wolstenholme (Image: Grace Wolstenholme)

Grace said: "It was advertised they were open for 'everyone'.

"However, upon arrival, we were greeted by two massive steps and as I am a wheelchair user we thought there would be wheelchair access at the back."

After calling for assistance, Grace was disappointed to find there was no one qualified to help her. 

She said: "We pressed the bell which clearly stated 'ring for assistance' and had a symbol of a wheelchair.

"Eventually, a lady came out but we were told there was no one qualified to assist me at the gym. 

"This is a contradiction of what had been written in the Clacton Gazette, which clearly states the gym will cater for ladies of all ages and all skill levels.

"I tried explaining to the lady that I do not need assistance as I know what machine to use and I would always have a carer with me who is trained in handling me on gym equipment.

"The response was, 'Sorry we can’t cater for disabled people as we are not qualified. Also we have no access for wheelchairs, so you can’t get in.'"

Venue - the Sparkle Ladies GymVenue - the Sparkle Ladies Gym (Image: Sam Boys)

The ordeal left Grace feeling disheartened. 

She said: "I am extremely upset as I feel they could have worded it better, to be completely honest. I felt like the lady we spoke to was judging me and probably thought I would lower the tone of her gym by allowing a wheelchair user in. 

"This ladies-only gym would have been so perfect for me as I am anxious when working out in a big gym as I feel people judge me for being 'different'."

Owner - Sam BoysOwner - Sam Boys (Image: Samantha Boys)

Sam Boys, the owner of Sparkle Ladies Gym, has reassured the public that disabled access will be implemented in the future.

She said: "The team at Sparkle Ladies Gym would never speak to anyone with anything other than kindness and respect, and we have offered our sincere apologies to Grace for any distress that was caused to her on the day.

"Our newly opened gym is an old building that used to be the Nat West Bank, and as of yet, we do not have the access that Grace required when she visited.

"As this is only our first week of trading, we would appreciate the time to be able to look at the building and see realistically what we can do to assist Grace and other disabled ladies going forward.

"I have invited Grace to meet with me to discuss this.

"During our launch weekend, we met many lovely ladies who have health issues, and it is, and always will be, our intention to give our help and support as far as we can, within our capabilities as gym instructors."