Sally Phillips' Son Refused Entry to Acton Trampoline Park

Staff insisted he needed doctor's note due to Down's Syndrome

Sally Phillips with her son Olly. Picture: BBC


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April 15, 2024

Actress Sally Phillips has spoken of her shock when her son was recently refused entry to the Oxygen Free Jump trampoline park in Acton.

The 53-year-old actress, best known for her roles in Miranda, Bridget Jones’s Diary and Smack The Pony, was with her 19-year-old son Olly who has Down’s Syndrome.

As a keen gymnast, he had used the centre numerous times before and she told BBC Breakfast that, when they arrived for their most recent visit along with Olly’s brother and his friend, they were taken to one side by a woman on the front desk who called over the manager.

They were told that Olly could not enter because British Gymnastics had issued safety guidance which required him to have a note from a doctor confirming it was safe for him to use the facility due to his condition.

She said, "I was so, so upset for Olly to be prevented. There were so many things wrong with it... one is that they're weeding out people with visible disabilities, so if you have an invisible disability, you're not required to bring in a doctor's letter."

Afterwards she says Olly burst into tears in the facility’s car park but was insistent that he still wanted to visit trampoline parks.

It was explained to Olly and his mother that the Doctor’s note required must be specific to each visit requiring a GP appointment to be made every time.

Ms Phillips, "This admin burden on special needs parents to be part of the community - to do a normal thing, to take normal risks that everyone else is allowed to take - is just unbearable."

She continued, "Times have really changed for people with Down's syndrome. Olly is used to being able to do what his contemporaries can do."

Oxygen Freejumping in Acton
Oxygen Freejumping in Acton

The company said it was following safety guidance from British Gymnastics but Ms Phillips says that Olly has already had an X-ray to check for potential neck instability associated with Down’s Syndrome as a condition of his membership of the British Gymnastics Association.

She says that concerns about the issue are misplaced because neck instability issues can only be detected once symptoms become evident therefore there is no reason that people with Down’s Syndrome can’t participate like anyone else. She blames the restrictions imposed by British Gymnastics as been based on insurers asking for a measure that in no way reduces risk.

Oxygen Free Jump said it was sorry Olly was refused entry adding, "The only reason a company like ours exists is to help everyone, but particularly children, enjoy active play.

"We would welcome the opportunity to collaborate with the relevant parties to review the current guidance and enable as much active play as we can, safely."

Ms Phillips responded by saying that it was unfair that the onus was being put on parents to bring about change but she would talk to the company about ways that Olly could use the facility.

She told BBC Breakfast, “They will allow us to do the work for them to change, whereas actually I think they need to educate themselves”.


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