A discreet way to make the invisible visible
Wearing the Sunflower discreetly indicates to people around the wearer that they have individual access needs - this could be simply be needing additional support, understanding or a little more time.
A global presence
Since the Sunflower was established in the UK in 2016, it has been adopted globally by organisations to support both their colleagues and customers.
Awareness of the Sunflower continues to grow across North America where it has been adopted by approximately 80 airports - discover them here. The US airports have formed a Sunflower group that shares ideas on how to implement, train, and distribute the Sunflower to travellers. Notably, Jet Blue airlines is the first US based airline to purchase and support the program with a full roll-out planned during the first quarter of 2022 and in Pennsylvania, an Amazon fulfilment centre now supports their employees with the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower.
The US also has three Sunflower-friendly US cities: Visit Mesa AZ, Visit Visalia CA, and Visit Vacaville, CA. In these cities, the Sunflower is distributed at the visitor centre and select local shops and is recognized at hotels, museums, attractions and parks.
The Sunflower is available locally in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the UAE, the UK and the USA. The Sunflower is now globally recognized across a broad range of sectors - ranging from retail, financial services, transport including over 180 airports, travel and tourism as well as over 450 universities, schools and colleges, all of the UK railway network, theme parks, supermarkets, leisure facilities, healthcare, financial services, emergency services, theatres and over 350 charities.
Businesses in countries like France, Norway and Lithuania have also recently introduced the Sunflower.
Above all, it is used anywhere where people meet. Find out where it is known near you using our Sunflower location map
How did it all start?
By 2016, the Accessibility team at Gatwick Airport were already assisting over 500,000 passengers a year but recognized that some passengers had a non-visible disability. How could they assist them too?
Following an evaluation which included the Gatwick team, the Airport Passenger Advisory Group and local and national charities, a green lanyard with a yellow sunflower was chosen for passengers to discreetly choose to indicate they have an invisible disability and may need some support, assistance or simply a little more time when moving through the airport.
The success of the Sunflower lanyard and the positive response it has received, has increased awareness of the barriers that adults and children with invisible disabilities can face.
Why did we choose a sunflower?
Without a visual cue, it can be difficult for others to identify, acknowledge, or understand the daily barriers faced by people living with am invisible disability.
We wanted a discreet sign which was still clearly visible from a distance as well as being distinctive, joyful, and dynamic. We chose a sunflower as it suggests happiness, positivity, strength as well as growth and confidence and is universally known.