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The Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Lanyard

6 December 2022

We're taking steps to support colleagues with hidden disabilities by joining the Sunflower Lanyard Scheme.  

Wearing the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower is a discreet way to choose to make the invisible visible. It discreetly indicates to people that the wearer has a disability and may need additional support, help or a little more time. 

This week we're running a series of awareness sessions promoting the scheme and to raise awareness of hidden disabilities. We'll also be running additional sessions in the new year, so please get in touch if you're interested in learning more.

Wearing a sunflower lanyard

Not everyone with hidden disabilities needs assistance. However, wearing a sunflower lanyard discreetly indicates that help may be needed, whether that’s a colleague at work, a service user, or a member of the public.

A sunflower lanyard encourages: 

  • you to ask for extra support (although you don't have to wear a lanyard to ask for this)
  • you  to use the lanyard to tell people about the type of assistance you need. For example, if you need some more time to understand something
  • our staff to approach you and ask if there is anything you need help with.

Your sunflower lanyard is yours to keep, and you are most welcome to wear it every day at work, out and about, shopping, attending medical or dental appointments, basically anywhere, at any time.

What do we mean by hidden disabilities?

A hidden disability may be difficult for others to recognise or understand but can make daily life more challenging for those who have one.

A hidden disability can include: 

  • sensory loss, such as difficulty seeing or hearing
  • a physical disability that may not be obvious (e.g. Cancer, Dysautonomia, Fibromyalgia, M.E. / CFS, P.O.T.S, Vertigo)
  • a neurodivergent condition (e.g. Autism, Attention Deficit Disorders, Dyslexia and Dyspraxia)
  • a learning disability (e.g. Global developmental delay, Williams syndrome)
  • Dementia including Alzheimer’s disease
  • anxiety or any other mental health condition.

How to request a lanyard?

To request a lanyard please contact the Dis-Ability Inclusion Network via email: and one will be posted to you.

You can also collect a lanyard from County Hall reception.

Teams Backgrounds

We’ve also created teams backgrounds for you to use, if you wish. It features a sunflower embedded within some of our existing corporate Teams backgrounds. Similarly, like wearing a sunflower people using the background with a sunflower on it indicate to others that they have a hidden disability.

If you see the sunflower in one of your virtual Teams meetings, consider how you can help your colleague:

  • use the “raise hand” function when you want to talk
  • remind colleagues that subtitles are available
  • offer to record the session so it can be reviewed again later
  • use the chat function, so all can have a share in the discussion.