Sunflower lanyards: What they mean and how to get one

If you've ever seen someone wearing a sunflower lanyard, then it could mean more than you think
If you've ever seen someone wearing a sunflower lanyard, then it could mean more than you think
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If you’ve ever been out and about, either in the supermarket, on public transport or even at the airport and have seen someone wear a sunflower lanyard, then it could mean more than you think.

What are sunflowers lanyards?

It's not always easy for those with disabilities that aren’t visible to ask for help, with some feeling that they'll be judged if they ask for help or finding it frustrating trying to explain symptoms that can't be seen to others.

However, a scheme - which is supported by charities including RNIB, Alzheimer’s Society, The National Autistic Society and Action on Hearing Loss - has now been introduced where sunflower lanyards can let others know if you have hidden disabilities.

These lanyards are bright green in colour and decorated with a sunflower design.

Gatwick airport first introduced the lanyards in 2016, with nine other airports across the UK having also welcomed the scheme since then. Manchester airport has also recently opened a new Sunflower Room, which allows passengers to have some time away from the busy departure lounges if needed.

Where else might I see a sunflower lanyard being used?

After the success of sunflower lanyards in UK airports, other transport providers and supermarkets are also getting involved in the scheme. Sainsbury's and Tesco are currently trialling the sunflower scheme in a number of their stores.

The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) said, “If you have a disability that may not be immediately obvious but would appreciate support from staff in airports or supermarkets, then you may be interested to know there is a lanyard you can wear to signal this.

“The lanyard, which is entirely voluntary for people with hidden disabilities and their families, acts as a discreet sign for staff that additional support or help may be required.”

How do I get one?

RNIB explains that “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.

“And if you happen to shop in any of the Sainsbury’s or Tesco stores running the trial, you can request the lanyard at the customer service desk of larger stores or the checkout at smaller ones.”