Gran banned for life from two leisure centres because she ‘kept sleeping in gym’

A gran claims she has been banned from two leisure centres for life.

Sue Pickerill says she was banned from two council-run leisure centres, over a raft of accusations.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council claimed the 64-year-old accused members and staff of entering her locker, bag and stealing her possessions, asked customers and staff to borrow her money or give her a lift home, entered classes late after the warm-up, despite being asked not to.

It also accused her of hiding from staff when they were locking up Shapes at Fenton Manor and was subsequently found to be sleeping there overnight, reports Stoke-on-Trent Live.

She claims she had quit Shapes after noticing items going missing from her locker before the bans.

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She had also joined the Wallace Sports and Education Centre, in Abbey Hulton, and was subsequently banned from both leisure centres.

    The mum-of-four says she was prohibited from going there until May 2018 but, after trying to re-join, she has now discovered she is forbidden to enter the centres for life.

    Sue, who originally joined the gyms to help with her depression, is now a member of the Jubilee 2 gym, in Newcastle.

    But this is two bus journeys away from her home in Abbey Hulton.

    She said: "I originally joined Shapes in Fenton Manor But on two occasions, my tweezers and nail scissors went missing from my locker and I also found chewing gum inside. After confronting staff about this, I decided to quit.

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    "I joined the Wallace Centre in August 2017 to help with my depression. About a month later, I was told off by the duty manager for being intimidating and making people feel uncomfortable by asking for lifts home in the evening. 

    "It was the winter time and I only asked people if they were going my way and they didn't mind. But the duty manager said that I shouldn't ask anyone for a lift as it makes people feel uncomfortable and intimidated.

    "Then I asked the duty manager one day if I could borrow £10 to get a packet of fags and a drink before I got paid.

    "Then I was a few seconds late for a class, along with another man. The man entered the class a few seconds before me, but I was told off for being late and I was told to no longer come to the gym.

    "I pleaded with them not to take this away from me as it was the only thing that kept me going and they said if I kept a low profile I could maybe come back in May 2018.

    "But when I tried to re-join, the answer was still no. I complained to the council in February 2019, but they upheld their decision. In September, I took myself to the civic centre to see if I could get any joy from them.

    "They couldn't tell me straight away, but I then received a phone call telling me that I had been banned from the leisure centres for life. I couldn't believe it, I was so shocked.

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    "I asked why and they said it was because I asked a member of the gym for money, but I didn't I asked the duty manager."

    Sue says she is 'heartbroken' that she can no longer use her local leisure centre.

    The grandmother-of-three added: "I'm gutted. I can't believe I'm banned for life. Going to the gym and doing the exercise classes helped with my issues.

    "It's very good for depression doing exercise classes. It's like a tonic, better than any prescribed drug. Doing keep fit to the music, it's fantastic.

    "I've now joined Jubilee 2 but it takes such a long time for me to get there on the bus.

    "I have to get two buses and it can sometimes take two hours to get there in traffic. I get a taxi if I can afford it, but I could walk to the Wallace Centre it was that close. All the travelling is taking its toll on my body.

    "I'd love to go back to the Wallace Centre. I could interact with people from my local area. I'm a vulnerable adult, how can they do this to a 64-year-old woman?

    "I've gone to the ombudsman about it and hopefully they can investigate. I shouldn't have been banned for life over such a trivial matter."

    A council spokesman said: "We have been in contact with Sue Pickerill over a number of years. We have listened carefully to her concerns and they have been fully considered and responded to through the official complaints process.

    "As such, it is not appropriate to discuss this matter further. We want to see our leisure centres used and enjoyed by the whole community and do not take decisions such as this lightly."

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