Channel 4 comedian Rosie Jones mystery shopped gyms for accessibility – guess which operator passed the test
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Channel 4 comedian Rosie Jones mystery shopped gyms for accessibility – guess which operator passed the test

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Comedian Rosie Jones found that just one of the three gyms she tried to train at, for a Channel 4 consumer rights programme, offered adequate facilities for disabled users.

Jones, who has cerebral palsy, was asked to investigate disabled access to gyms in the latest episode of Joe Lycett’s Got Your Back.

The programme, which has the tagline of "making complaining funny", takes a somewhat lighthearted approach to highlight (the sometimes serious) shortcomings of British businesses.

In the latest episode, broadcast on 17 April 2020 – but filmed prior to the COVID-19 outbreak – the show's host sent Jones to test the accessibility of three popular high-street gyms: Fitness First, Gymbox and The Gym Group.

Only one of the three gyms passed the test with flying colours.

The other two sites Jones visited fell badly short. Issues uncovered by the comedian included lack of site access and facilities meant for disabled exercisers being used as storage space for cleaning equipment.

At one of the clubs, Jones was told by a member of staff that their "gyms aren't designed for disabled people".

The final outcome saw The Gym Group come out on top, with good disabled access, well-briefed staff and a warm welcome. The other two operators fell down on access, with broken lift (or no lift), lack of disabled facilities and staff who were not welcoming.

"We know mystery shopping can be a brutal business," said HCM editor, Liz Terry, "most businesses have days when they excel and others when they could do better – it's tough to deliver every time in a service business. However, these kinds of lapses do show a systematic lack of attention to the needs of people with disabilities.

"Congratulations to The Gym Group for its consistency and robust delivery – it really stood out in this programme."

Click here to see the full clip of Jones' experience.

The full episode will air on repeat on Channel 4 today (22 April) at 11pm. For more info, click here.

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Comedian Rosie Jones has found that just one of the three gyms she tried to train at, for a Channel 4 consumer rights programme, offered adequate accessibility and/or facilities for disabled users.
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