North East Derbyshire District Council has joined the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower scheme to provide additional support to disabled residents.
Visitors can wear the scheme logo in numerous ways, such as wearing a lanyard or badge, presenting a special card or carrying a keyring.
Wearing the Sunflower allows people to discreetly alert staff if they may need extra assistance, support or time.
Paul White, chief executive of Hidden Disabilities Sunflower, said: “Residents with hidden disabilities will feel supported that the Sunflower will be recognised, and that they will be met with kindness, understanding and patience.”
Hidden disabilities are disabilities that may not be spotted at first sight. They can be a neurological condition such as autism, sensory issues like hearing impairment, or mental health problems, such as anxiety.
At the Council headquarters in Wingerworth, all customer service staff have been trained on the scheme and available support types. The leisure staff had also completed the training, which will ensure that they are fully prepared before the sports centres reopen.
Since its launching in 2016, more than two million Sunflower lanyards have been sent to individuals and businesses worldwide.
Cabinet member for council services, Councillor Mark Foster, said: “People who live with a hidden disability often face a number of challenges as they go about their daily lives.
“We are therefore delighted we have been able to join the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower to give staff the training they need to recognise hidden disabilities and give customers the extra support they need when they visit our premises.”
The scheme logo is a sunflower design placed on a green background. People can buy their Sunflower cards at the Hidden Disabilities shop.
Luke Poulton, 29, an autistic Audio Visual Technician of Lordship Road, London, started using his lanyard this month. He is pleased with the experience so far and the public’s reactions to him wearing it.
Mr Poulton said: “I think it’s great. I definitely think the lanyard scheme is needed as it does help. People do seem to care when they find out why I’m wearing it.”
For all the merchandise available and how to join the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower, visit the website.