RENFREWSHIRE Leisure has been accused of discrimination over an out-of-order lift at a Johnstone sports centre.

The length of time taken to fix the faulty elevator at Johnstone Community Sports Hub left regular visitor Geraldine McNealey fuming.

She told how there were issues with the lift for months and this meant her friend Yvonne McLeese, who is partially sighted, struggled to access the swimming pool and gym.

Ms McNealey said: “My friend and I use the swimming pool but she is blind in one eye and only partially sighted in the other, so I have to guide her on the stairs.

“We wanted to use the treadmill in the gym during the winter months but it is just too many stairs for her to cope with.”

Ms McNealey claims she was advised by staff to use the ON-X sports centre in Linwood instead, despite there being no direct bus service from Johnstone.

“This is clearly unacceptable and discriminatory to disabled people,” she said. “We’re being asked to keep as active as possible but Renfrewshire Leisure haven’t been making it easy for us.”

Councillor Andy Doig, who represents Johnstone North, also raised concerns over how long it took to fix the faulty lift.

He said: “It’s essential that we have amenities for people who are disabled or have mobility issues. It’s really just a matter of common decency, especially in a leisure facility.

“It can take hours to get from Johnstone to Linwood by bus, so that’s not a viable alternative either. Johnstone is a town of 17,000 people, so the sports hub that is there should be up to par and clearly, in this regard, Renfrewshire Leisure have been failing in their duties.”

Renfrewshire Leisure said the lift at the sports hub was out of order for eight weeks but has been back in use since November 8.

“We apologise to any of our members and customers who were inconvenienced while the lift was out of use,” added a spokesperson. “We appreciate that it was not an ideal situation and that travelling to ON-X was not straightforward for some of our users.

“We acted as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, the part needed was not an off-the-shelf component.

“While this was a significant time for the lift to be out of use, it is not uncommon for the type of repair that was needed, given the turnaround time for the part.

“As a charity for whom supporting the health and wellbeing of our community is at the heart of what we do, full and easy access to services and facilities is a priority.

“We work extremely hard to ensure that everyone can benefit from our work, including people with disabilities or mobility issues. There is absolutely no discrimination in our organisation.”