Councillors have protested about a decision to cancel a disco attended by people with learning difficulties at a city centre bar.
Riverside ward Councillors Steve Munby, Michelle Corrigan and Hetty Wood have written to JD Wetherspoons about the decision.
Their letter says:
“We are writing to protest against the decision of your regional manager to cancel the highly successful city centre ‘Ace discos’ that have been running in Lloyds Bar in Concert Square, Liverpool, which is owned by Wetherspoons. The discos have been running for nine years and are attended by hundreds of adults with learning disabilities. ACE have been told they must cease from March 10th. This has caused enormous distress to the hundreds of people who regularly attend the discos. It has been met by anger and astonishment by people in Liverpool.
“As councillors for the area concerned we are writing to you to ask you to urgently reconsider the decision. The reason given for terminating the events has been given as “an increasing emphasis on attracting lunchtime customers” and to “adapt to the changing demands of customers“. Your representative has stated “we feel that we are no longer able to accommodate the group, in our aim to cater for all of our customers.” Irony is not dead when you can justify ending an event for adults with learning disabilities in the name of improving access.
“The explanation that the event has been cancelled to promote lunchtime trade has been met with incredulity by everyone who knows the area, particularly the local licensed trade. This event attracts hundreds of customers on a Tuesday lunchtime. It is inconceivable that you will attract anything like this number of paying customers to Concert Square if the event is cancelled. As an excuse it is up there with ‘the hamster ate my homework’. Quite simply nobody in Liverpool believes it. This leaves the inescapable conclusion that the decision has been taken for reasons of prejudice against adults with learning disabilities – ‘they don’t suit Wetherspoons image’.
“We find this particularly surprising and depressing in that we believe Wetherspoons has a good record in addressing issues of discrimination and diversity at a national level. In this instance however the decision to end the ACE discos flies in the face of this. We are writing to urge you to intervene and overrule the area manager and allow the disco to continue. It is the right thing to do: for the adults who benefit from the disco and for yourselves as a business – both to benefit from their continued good custom and to rectify the severe reputational damage this decision is inflicting on your company.”
Pictured are people who attend the discos with councillors and representatives of the licensed trade.