Ipswich Town Football Club at Portman Road has joined the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower network.
Launched in 2016, The Hidden Disabilities Sunflower is a simple tool for an individual to voluntarily share that they have a disability or condition that may not be immediately apparent – and that they may need a helping hand, understanding, or more time in shops, at work, on transport, or in public spaces.
Globally, one in seven people live with a disability. Of those, around 80% are invisible, meaning that over one billion people live with a non-visible disability in the world.
These disabilities can be temporary, situational or permanent. They can be neurological, cognitive and neurodevelopmental, as well as physical, visual, and auditory and include sensory and processing difficulties. They can also be respiratory, including asthma, while chronic health conditions such as arthritis and diabetes, chronic pain and sleep disorders would also apply.
They can include but are not limited to autism and ADHD, cognitive impairments such as learning difficulties and dementia, as well as mental health conditions and speech, visual impairments or hearing loss.
Supporters who wish to share that they have a disability or condition that is not immediately obvious can do so by wearing a Hidden Disabilities Sunflower lanyard.
Club stewards and other supporter-facing staff have received training to ensure that they can provide further assistance for those wearing a lanyard, where required.
This move, which comes during Level Playing Field's Unite For Action campaign, marks another step towards making Portman Road, both on matchdays and non-matchdays, a more inclusive and accessible environment.
It also follows the announcement that sensory packs, which are provided by Ipswich Town Foundation, will now be available on matchdays at Portman Road.
Lee Smith, the Club’s Disability Liaison Officer, said:
"The Club continues to strive to be as inclusive and accessible as possible. Being members of the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower will help supporters who may need extra time or assistance feel more included at Portman Road. It's also an opportunity for supporters to acknowledge that some of their fellow fans may need more time, patience and understanding.
Asking a supporter the simple question, 'are you ok?' may just make all the difference to their experience on a matchday or non-matchday."
Paul White, CEO at Hidden Disabilities Sunflower, said:
“I am delighted that Ipswich Town Football Club has joined the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower network. It will provide home and away fans with non-visible disabilities the security they need to ensure that they will be met with an offer of support, understanding and kindness when they visit Portman Road. The Club has done a lot to improve its accessibility, and the Sunflower is an important part of that.”
Learn more about Ipswich Town Football Club
Is your organisation a member of the Sunflower network?
Is your place of work Sunflower friendly? If not, why not suggest they look into becoming members of the Sunflower? We provide training and assistance to help businesses recognise the Sunflower to support individuals with non-visible disabilities and become confident in providing them with additional help or assistance.
Join an impressive network of organisations so our Sunflower wearers can find you as they plan their days out:
- add your location to the Sunflower location map
- provide details useful for Sunflower-friendly visits
- demonstrate how accessible you are
- tell your story through articles
- and even reveal your Sunflower-friendly events
Become a member of the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower network.