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Can you spot the signs? Sunflower lanyards for those with hidden disabilities

Category: Hidden Disabilities

A host of large UK companies are adding sunflower lanyards to their efforts to create inclusive, supportive environments for persons with hidden disabilities

A bright green, sunflower print lanyard worn around the neck is becoming the established symbol of hidden disabilities in the UK. The idea is similar to the rainbow lanyards which have been successful for big organisations in showing solidarity for LGBT communities.

Awareness raising of invisible disabilities

The sunflower design is designed to discreetly let staff know that customers have a condition such as autism, dementia or a visual impairment, without the customer having to locate the staff member. This level of visibility is important because invisible conditions have a major impact on the lives of those who have them. One recent survey suggested two thirds of 1000 disabled respondents felt there was more stigma associated with disabilities that others cannot see.

Tesco and Sainsbury’s have also signed up to introduce the idea. You can request the lanyard at the customer service desk of larger stores or the checkout at smaller ones. A spokesperson for Sainsbury’s explained, “customers have the option to wear their lanyard in shops across the UK, in the knowledge that store colleagues will recognise what it stands for”.

UK firms supporting persons with disabilities

Airports and travel firms have been other early adopters of the idea. That’s because their customers find travel tricky to navigate. Manchester Airport has created its own quiet room for people requesting special assistance. The airport’s spokesperson called the room, “a refuge for people from noise and lights, somewhere for them to go and relax, be calm and be quiet and just have a quiet moment.”

If you’re due to fly from a major UK airport, you should be able to ask for a lanyard from an airport assistance desk, or order it in advance, depending on your chosen airport. Find out more about the best way of getting the lanyard by contacting the airport before you travel.

This initiative is supported by the leading charities including the National Autistic Society, Action on Hearing Loss, the Royal National Institute of Blind People and the Alzheimer’s Society.

Reasonable adjustments

The small change of introducing the sunflower lanyards shows how companies can successfully, easily and cost-effectively support persons with disabilities. We champion these ideas. With small adjustments, or considerations, we can make our societies accessible to all. Companies can lead the way in showcasing new ideas, bringing together design and equality to create compassionate communities and places.

Inclusion is not an afterthought. It’s the basis of a strong and successful team. That’s why we believe it’s important for every member of society to be able to make their contribution. We’re proud to work with hundreds of thoughtful employers. Search here for available vacancies with companies committed to making a difference.


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VERCIDA works with over one hundred clients who are committed to creating an inclusive work environment. If you are an employer and interested in working with VERCIDA to promote your diversity and inclusion initiatives and attract the best candidates, please email [email protected] for more information.

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