Have you ever been out and about, maybe in a supermarket, on public transport, or even in church and noticed someone wearing a Sunflower Lanyard? A Sunflower wristband? A Sunflower badge? Each with a yellow Sunflower on a bright green background.
The Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Lanyard Scheme is an initiative designed to act as a discreet sign that the wearer, or someone with them, has a hidden disability and requires additional assistance while out in public.
Not all disabilities are visible – some are not immediately obvious, such as learning difficulties, autism, chronic pain, dementia, anxiety, and speech, visual or hearing impairment. Living with a hidden disability can make daily life more demanding for many people. They affect each person in different ways and can be painful, exhausting and isolating. Without visible evidence of the hidden disability, it may be difficult for others to recognise or acknowledge the challenges faced and as a consequence, sympathy and understanding can often be in short supply.
Launched in the U.K. in 2016, The Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Scheme is starting to be recognised globally. In this country it has been adopted by all our major airports, including Leeds/Bradford, many supermarkets, railway stations, leisure facilities, in the NHS and by an increasing number of businesses and organisations. Anywhere where people meet.
Wearing a Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Lanyard indicates to other people, including staff, colleagues and health professionals that additional support, help or a little extra time and patience may be needed. It is of course entirely voluntary but available, free of charge, to anyone, including children, who would find one helpful and it is not necessary to disclose your disability. The scheme is being rolled out more widely locally. Meanwhile ask at Customer Services in any Marks and Spencer store, Sainsbury’s in Otley or at a London North Eastern Railway station ….
And I too have a small supply!