Disappointment over string of problems on theme park trip

Staff and customers of Oaktree Farm Care Ltd.
Staff and customers of Oaktree Farm Care Ltd.

Young adults from Oaktree Farm, Copsale, were left disappointed and distressed after a trip to Chessington.

Amanda Churcher is the director of Oaktree Farm, which provides day care and practical education for young adults with learning difficulties.

She told the County Times that they made a pre-arranged visit to Chessington World of Adventures Resort on September 7.

“On arrival there was no member of staff to greet them, which has happened only once in the past,” she said.

“This made all our customers extremely agitated and distressed.”

She said they then had to take their group to the park’s guest services section, to establish whether or not they had disabilities which entitled them to wristbands.

This put their staff in a difficult position, as personal medical information is confidential.

“Over one and a half hours of their day was taken up with the staff unable to understand the care concept of a group, pre arranged of adults with learning difficulties,” said Amanda.

“They were only issued with six bands for 12 customers! The staff required personal information, of course our staff are unable to discuss this.”

At the entrance, each of their customers paid £5 for a refillable drink, but the staff there were unable to give them a receipt.

“When they asked at counters to refill their drinks some staff would not as they had no receipt, which of course was not their fault,” she said. “This meant our disabled customers had to walk from counter to counter to see who would serve them a drink, when they had paid for it.

“When going into Burger King, our staff were becoming agitated as the staff would not just give them some plain tap water for medication and asked them to queue.”

In the park itself, five of the rides were shut.

“This was the same the previous Friday, when Chessington were issuing free tickets as customers were leaving the site, to offer them another day,” said Amanda, “so why are our customers treated any different?”

When they complained to Chessington, they were offered a set of Fast Track passes for a future visit. Amanda told the County Times that their customers are already entitled to All Access passes, which are more suitable for their needs.

Later, they were offered 16 tickets for next year.

As Amanda pointed out, the free tickets will not cover their food, the drinks they were not provided with, or their car park costs.

A statement from the resort said: “Chessington World of Adventures Resort takes all complaints very seriously. We followed up with the staff at Oaktree Farm Care once we received their complaint and apologised for any inconvenience experienced whilst visiting our Resort. Having discussed the content of their initial complaint thoroughly with them, an agreeable resolution was found and the guests appeared satisfied with the outcome of our discussions.”

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