Blind mother’s anger after lifeguard said ‘she shouldn’t be at pool’

Swimming pool lifeguard ‘humiliated’ blind mother by telling her: ‘You shouldn’t be here if you can’t watch your child’

  • Libby Hanley, 31, was celebrating her daughter’s third birthday at Dimensions
  • The group spent 45 minutes in the pool run by Stoke-on-Trent City Council 
  • When her daughter ran by the pool a lifeguard told Ms Hanley to watch her child
  • When the registered blind mother said she couldn’t see she was told ‘well I guess you shouldn’t be here’ and was only offered a voucher when she complained 

A registered blind mother was left feeling humiliated when a lifeguard told her she shouldn’t be at the swimming pool if she couldn’t watch her child.

Libby Hanley, 31, was celebrating her daughter Madison’s third birthday at Dimensions, run by Stoke-on-Trent City Council in Burslem, when her daughter started running by the pool.

When a lifeguard told her to watch her child she explained she could not see but was told ‘well I guess you shouldn’t be here’, Ms Hanley revealed.

‘I am registered blind and it takes a moment for my eyes to adjust to the light once I have removed my glasses.

Libby Hanley, 31, was celebrating her daughter Maddison’s third birthday at Dimensions, run by Stoke-on-Trent City Council in Burslem, when her daughter started running by the pool

‘A member of staff at the swimming pool said “you need to watch your child”, so I replied and explained I couldn’t see.

‘She said, “Well, I guess you shouldn’t be here then”.

‘I felt so uncomfortable. She didn’t call me to one side to say it. She said it in front of the whole pool.’

‘She didn’t call me to one side to say it. She said it in front of the whole pool,’ Ms Hanley added.

Ms Hanley, from Biddulph, is now calling for staff to have extra equality and discrimination training.   

Terence Wildridge, 39, was one of the friends who was shocked by what happened.

‘My wife Hollie works at the children’s centre in Biddulph and Libby goes there with her daughter Madison and we took them out to Dimensions’ he said.

‘We went to the main reception and told them that Libby was registered blind.

‘We took them into the toddlers’ pool under Hollie’s guidance. We’d been in there for about 45 minutes. Everything was okay.

‘Maddie was running around and then the female lifeguard said to Libby “please look after your child”.’ 

Mr Wildridge went to the changing room to collect Libby’s blind card to show to staff.

The group had been in the toddler pool at Dimensions, run by Stoke-on-Trent City Council, for 45 minutes before three-year-old Madison started running

He said: ‘The lifeguard just stuck her nose up at it. One of the parents said “that’s disgusting, love”.

‘They were trying to stick up for her because they could see how upset she was.

‘We decided to get them out of the pool and take them back home. It should be investigated and staff retrained.

‘Staff need to make sure they don’t come out with that sort of thing again. We don’t want another person to be affected like Libby was.’

Ms Hanley complained to the pool’s management who then offered the family a two-for-one voucher for their next visit.

But she said ‘I am not interested in going there again. It made me feel quite emotional and made me question myself.

Ms Hanley complained to the pool’s management who then offered the family a two-for-one voucher for their next visit

‘The staff need more training. My disability is not a physical thing and it’s not an obvious disability.’

A city council spokesman said ‘We are aware of an incident that took place at Dimensions on May 11 and we are reviewing what happened.

‘On the day, a member of staff spoke to the customer and she was informed about our official complaint process. We take all customer complaints seriously and address them as thoroughly as possible.’ 

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