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The Ability People

Sunflower Lanyards: Does ‘One Size Fit All?’

According to Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Lanyard Scheme®, the concept of the Sunflower Lanyard “originated in 2016 when London Gatwick Airport asked “How can we recognise that one of our passengers may have a non-obvious disability?”. The answer was to create a lanyard with a simple sunflower design on a green background.

The lanyards intended to be a subtle but visible sign enabling airport staff to recognise that the wearer (or someone with them) may require some extra help, time or assistance when moving through the airport.”

The scheme was a great success at Gatwick Airport. So much so that other UK airports, UK Rail providers and the NHS followed suit.

Interestingly, however, following trials in 2018, the past few months have seen a number of UK supermarkets, stores and banks adopting the scheme. Those who have adopted the scheme include: Marks and Spencers, Sainsbury’s, Argos, Tesco and, most recently, Nationwide Building Society.

Here at The Ability People, we have been in deep discussion regarding the pros and cons of using the Sunflower Lanyards in supermarkets and stores.

On one hand, the scheme, feels like a slight win for disabled community. Of course, in theory, it’s a good thing to recognise that extra support or adaptations might be useful for disabled people. The more awareness we can raise that disability isn’t always visible, the better.

On the other hand, however, we wonder how disabled people would feel about wearing a Sunflower Lanyard whilst doing their weekly shop. We also wonder whether it should be us that wears them, or whether a better approach would be to improve the standards of disability awareness training for all members of staff. Perhaps, staff members could wear a Sunflower Lanyard to show that they are there to help.

What do you think?

As we say, a number of high profile retailers have recently adopted the sunflower lanyard that have worked so well for Gatwick Airport. We would like to know what you think given that shopping and passing through an airport are such different experiences. Does ‘one size fit all?’

Please let us know your thoughts on Sunflower Lanyards by completing the very quick survey below.