Passengers who have a hidden condition or disability can now use a sunflower lanyard to show staff they may need additional assistance during their journey

London North Eastern Railway (LNER) has become the latest in a series of transport providers to introduce sunflower lanyards for those who have a hidden disability or condition. The bright green sunflower print lanyard is fast becoming the symbol of hidden disabilities in the UK.

Passengers who choose to wear a sunflower lanyard are able to discreetly let staff know they may be autistic, have ADHD, dementia, a visual impairment, or other condition without having to verbally disclose to staff.

LNER have also introduced Sunflower ambassadors along their route between London, Yorkshire, North East England and Scotland. Volunteers from around the business will be trained on how to best help customers with hidden disabilities.

LNER is the first train company to introduce the scheme, following the introduction at multiple UK airports including London Heathrow, Gatwick, Luton, Stansted, Newcastle International, Edinburgh, Belfast, Bristol, Manchester, and East Midlands.

First introduced at Gatwick Airport, over 10,000 lanyards have been collected to date. Passengers flying from airports which use the scheme should typically let airlines know at least 48 hours in advance if they need any specific assistance. Those wearing a sunflower lanyard can travel independently through airports with the assurance that if they need any additional support, experience any discomfort, or may need assistance, staff will be happy to help.

The hidden disability lanyard scheme helps enable travel amongst those who may find the experience stressful or distressing.

In February 2019, national supermarket chain Sainsbury’s announced an extension of their trial to help customers with hidden disabilities, introducing the sunflower lanyards to select stores. Following the successful initial trial at their Barnstaple store, Sainsbury’s is the first supermarket to trial the initiative.

The supermarket scheme sees staff provide extra support such as opening new checkout lanes, helping customers find items, as well as giving them more time at checkout lanes.

Passengers can request a free sunflower lanyard by contacting the LNER Customer Solutions Centre or collecting them from any LNER station. Passengers flying from UK airports can check with their departing airport to see how they can receive a free lanyard by post or from terminal assistance desks at the airport. Customers at select Sainsbury’s stores can pick up a lanyard at the customer service desk. Lanyards are free and can be re-used at other locations operating the scheme.