Sunflower lanyards for hidden disabilities
What are sunflower lanyards?
Have you heard of the sunflower lanyards? A green lanyard covered with bright sunflowers, these lanyards discreetly let staff at many places know you, or someone in your family, has a hidden disability and may require additional assistance.
The additional assistance could include being escorted through areas with long queues, a briefing of what to expect, provide more time or anything that would support you and your family.
Which businesses have the sunflower lanyard scheme?
Gatwick Airport appears to be the business who first introduced the scheme. Since then many other airports, including Edinburgh Airport, have followed suit. Similarly, train provider LNER has introduced the scheme.
Other businesses such as Sainsbury’s and Tesco’s are starting to trial the lanyard in stores.
“We’re delighted Sainsbury’s is trialling this lanyard scheme,” Nikki Barton from Gatwick Airport, said during the initial launch of the lanyards at Sainsbury’s.
“We have found that being in an airport terminal can often be a daunting experience for those with hidden disabilities. The lanyards are a discreet way of bringing hidden disabilities to the attention of staff, which ultimately gives our passengers and their families reassurance and confidence that they will quickly receive the support they need. By working with Sainsbury’s and using the same lanyard design, we hope to set the precedent for other retailers to follow suit.”
How can I get a sunflower lanyard?
The lanyards can be ordered in advance from businesses participating in the scheme, or picked up at the customer service or special assistance desks. They are free, you don’t need to prove you, or someone in your family, have a hidden disability and you can keep the lanyard for use in other participating businesses.
Who has tried the sunflower scheme?
While it’s been around for years, the scheme has recently become more talked about after a mother wearing the lanyard for her son was able to avoid the long queues in airport security. You can read about her experience here.
The scheme is recognised and supported by a number of charities; the RNIB (https://www.rnib.org.uk/) , National Autistic Society, Alzheimer’s Society and Action on Hearing Loss.
August in Edinburgh is upon us. The streets are packed, there’s lots of noise and so many things to see. We’ve had a look through some of the festivals and have pulled together some handy information about access, relaxed performances and additional resources.
Edinburgh Fringe Festival
This year, the Fringe has more than 70 relaxed performances for audiences to try out. There are both children and adult suitable events, across a multitude of genres. You can see them all here. According to the Fringe’s website, a relaxed performance at the Fringe is “designed to make the experience of visiting venues and seeing a show more comfortable and fulfilling for autistic people”.
The Fringe also has sensory backpacks available to borrow for free from six places around Edinburgh; the Fringe Shop, the Fringe Shop in Waverly Mall, Dance Base, Gilded Balloon Rose Theatre, Scottish Storytelling Centre and the Pleasance Dome. Adult and children backpacks are available to borrow, and you have to bring a form of photo ID. These backpacks have various bits and pieces included, such as ear defenders and fidget spinners, to make the experience more comfortable.
You can also download a social story about attending the Fringe which is designed to help prepare autistic visitors for what they may experience on the streets of Edinburgh.
Read more about what the Fringe offers with access on their website.
Edinburgh International Book Festival
Have you been to the Book Festival before? If not, there is a handy video the Festival has created to showcase what the main village is like. Watch it here. Or download the social story to read about what to expect.
Too, you can borrow an additional needs badge, which discreetly tells the staff you would like some extra assistance. Ear defenders are also available to borrow should things get a bit overwhelming or noisy.
Edinburgh International Festival
This year the Edinburgh International Festival has two relaxed performances available for anyone wishing for a more relaxed, comfortable setting. These are on 15 and 22 August. Edinburgh International Festival also has a full access guide which includes other accessible performances, along with venue information and who to get in contact with for any questions.
Edinburgh Art Festival
Edinburgh Art Festival is located all around the city, so if you’re not sure what some of their venues are like make sure you check them out on Euan’s Guide.
The Festival also has an accessible guide of the programme in a word document. You can download it here.
We hope you get to enjoy some of the festivals this August! If you have any advice, queries or suggestions, please email them firstname.lastname@example.org so we can share with others.
We are currently working on a list of useful links and signposts to other services in Edinburgh and the Lothians.
If you would like to know about anything at present or have any suggestions of what should be included, please complete the contact form