Two sisters have launched an online petition calling for public facing staff members to get disability awareness training after discrimination faced during a trip to Alton Towers.
Calling out the resort, Hannah and her sister Becky Cheetham visited Alton Towers to celebrate a birthday but were left disappointed due to lack of ride accessibility and discriminatory and ignorant staff behaviour.
Writing on the public petition, the sisters detailed the discrimination Hannah, who has cerebral palsy and is a wheelchair user, faced during their visit.
“Whilst ride accessibility and disabled access points being closed are part of a wider health and safety issue, which need further investment by Alton Towers to bring up to the levels of other theme parks, the real issue for us was the disgusting staff behaviour which resulted in a very distressing and upsetting experience for us all, especially Hannah.”
Examples included staff not understanding disability restrictions, no explanation of the adaptations used upon entry to the park alongside upsetting and hurtful comments from members of staff.
Becky and Hannah were both charged £40 and were only allowed on two rides. Having been visiting Alton Towers every year, the sisters attempted to get onto Duel, as it has disability access, and were later told by staff members that the disabled access was no longer available.
The petition continues: “A staff member shouting ‘she can’t walk’ in front of a crowd rather than talking directly to us, not one staff member speaking directly to Hannah, being let onto a ride then being told to get off in front of everyone, staff not listening to us when we were expressing our concerns, staff not knowing how to use an accessibility lift.”
From this negative and traumatic experience, the sisters are calling on all public facing staff to be required to undergo disability awareness training in order to prevent others to face the same experience.
“If disability awareness training already exists, this needs to be significantly improved,” continues the petition.
The petition has reached almost 37,000 signatures with hopes to reach 50,000 signatures.
Alton Towers has said it was “deeply sorry” for the incident. The Alton Towers website also boasts “striving to make sure that the Theme Park, Hotels, Waterpark and other extraordinary attractions are easily accessible to all our guests”, but it is evident more needs to be done.
You can sign the petition calling for change here.