Greater Anglia joins Sunflower scheme to help people with hidden disabilities

June 30, 2020

Greater Anglia has signed up to the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Lanyard scheme so that passengers with hidden disabilities can get the help they need when travelling.

The train operator last year launched its own ‘Offer Me a Seat’ badges so that people with hidden disabilities could travel on their trains more comfortably. Now it has gone further and partnered the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower initiative and will keep stocks of the lanyards and ID cards at its main staffed stations so that they can be given out to those who need them.

The lanyard and ID card feature a sunflower on a green background to signal to others that the holder may have a disability that is not immediately obvious, such as learning difficulties, mental health as well as mobility, speech, visual or hearing impairments.

Paul White from Hidden Disabilities Sunflower said: “Living with a hidden disability can make daily life more demanding for many people, but it can be difficult for others to recognise, acknowledge or understand the challenges that they face.

“The Hidden Disabilities Sunflower helps by discreetly indicating to people including staff and colleagues that those who choose to wear it, have a hidden disability and may need additional support, help or a little more time.”

Greater Anglia’s Accessibility Manager, Rebecca Richardson, said: “We’re delighted to join this initiative to help our staff identify those who might need some extra help when travelling with us, and build on the progress we have made in making rail travel accessible for everyone.

“We are committed to training our staff to be aware of different needs when travelling and how best to provide help and assistance and our new trains are much better in terms of accessibility – every train has purpose-built wheelchair accessible spaces, accessible toilets and more sophisticated passenger information systems.”

The sunflower was chosen as the symbol for the scheme as it suggests happiness, positivity, strength as well as growth and confidence. It is a universally recognised flower as well as being gender-neutral.

It intends to allow everyone with hidden disabilities to choose to be visible when they want to be.

Since its launch in 2016, it has now been adopted globally by major airports and venues and in the UK, by many supermarkets, railway and coach stations, leisure facilities, the NHS, a number of police, fire and ambulance services, and an increasing number of small and large businesses and organisations.