A minister saw how sports facilities are made accessible to disabled people during a visit to a leisure centre.

Mark Harper MP, the minister for disabled people, visited Aspire Leisure Centre in Wood Lane, Stanmore this afternoon to learn about they are helping their customers.

Following a previous visit held in 2008, he was given a tour of the facilities, including the accessible swimming, gym and sports hall.

The minister also spoke to graduate Lindsay Liggett, who is a member of the centre's 'instructability' scheme.

The award-winning programme trains disabled people to become specialised fitness instructors, offering them placements in gyms to help encourage others to work out and get fit.

Ms Liggett said: “I love being here because I love helping people, and being here there is that good link with the hospital so we can get in contact with people who have just had their injury.

“It’s so important to make that connection early on. Some people don’t have the right connections after the leave hospital, and they can develop all sorts of mental health issues because they haven’t been given good advice or help with their recovery.

“If I can help people before they get into stage, they can have the community support and advice that they need and I know I’ve done a good job.”

Mr Harper was given the tour by chief executive Brian Carlin, who spoke about changes at the centre since the minister’s last visit.

The minister said: “Aspire is at the cutting edge of the industry, unlike the zillions of people running along behind. The more we can get services working in partnership, like here at Aspire with their work with the hospital, the better for the community.

“The visit today was about looking at all the new services they have delivered since my last visit, from introducing the Instructability scheme to the extra houses they’ve created.”