Diggerland to amend policy after Honiton woman’s carer denied free entry

PUBLISHED: 10:15 17 October 2017

Naomi Morton (right) and Judith Gillard of Independence Enabling in Honiton. Ref mhh 42 17TI 2032. Picture: Terry Ife

Naomi Morton (right) and Judith Gillard of Independence Enabling in Honiton. Ref mhh 42 17TI 2032. Picture: Terry Ife

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Honiton company Independence Enabling had aimed to take a small group to Diggerland as part of a group activity.

A disabled teenager’s visit to Diggerland in Cullompton was left in tatters after the attraction refused to let one of her carers in for free.

The decision has been blasted as ‘discriminatory’ by Honiton care service Independence Enabling, but Diggerland has since confirmed it will be working to have a new policy in place from its new season in February 2018.

Independence Enabling had aimed to take a small group to Diggerland as part of a group activity.

However, staff were left stunned when, after phoning to book in advance, one of its users - an 18-year-old woman with a physical disability - was told she would have to pay for one of her two carers in order to enter.

Adult entry into Diggerland is £19.95 per person, and the attraction has a ‘one carer free’ policy.

Naomi Morton, registered manager at Independence Enabling, said Diggerland’s actions were ‘discriminatory’ and said it was not the woman’s fault that her disability required her to have two carers.

Mrs Morton said: “It is not like we were going in there and taking up space – it is a place where everyone can go.

“We felt that Diggerland’s actions were discriminative against this girl because she could not afford for two adults to go in.”

Mrs Morton said the woman would have had to pay around £125 in total for the day out – comprising the cost of her entry fee, her carer’s entry fee and the £85 she pays for her support from the service.

She added: “This girl would not be bothered if she could not go on many of the rides, but she wanted to be a part of the group and feel included. We want Diggerland to review its policies – and look at every individual.”

A spokeswoman for Diggerland said: “At Diggerland, we do not wish to discriminate against anyone.

“Diggerland will be amending its policy with regards to carer entry and aim to have a new policy in place for 2018 onwards.

“The standard policy will still be in place regarding one free carer entry per one paying disabled visitor.

“However for 2018, on merit Diggerland management will consider an additional carer entry at either a highly subsidised rate or possibly free entry, on a strictly case by case basis.”

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