Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Scheme

1 in 5 people in the UK are disabled and 80% of them have a hidden disability – a condition where there is no obvious visible sign that a customer might need extra support.

The Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Scheme helps businesses like supermarkets, banks and transport hubs recognise and help those who have a hidden disability with the distinctive but discreet green and yellow sunflower design worn on lanyards, wristbands, cards and other items.

Disabled people spend £274billion each year but High Street shops miss out on an estimated £267million of annual sales because they are not accessible enough or don’t provide a good customer experience for disabled customers. This guide gives some top tips for providing excellent customer service to people with a disability.

What should I do if I see someone wearing a Hidden Disabilities Sunflower?

People choose to wear the hidden disabilities symbol when they are shopping, queuing or anywhere where they feel the need for support, it may also mean they are exempt from wearing a facemask.

We are sending laminates out to all branches with information on how to support customers wearing the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower. You can place this behind your counter so staff can be aware of the scheme. 

You can also order a bundle of lanyards to give out to customers who might need them with the stock code MISC2039 and you'll receive a window vinyl to display in your window to show your branch supports the scheme.

The key things to remember when serving customers wearing the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower are:

1 – Ask if you can help

  • Approach the wearer and ask them if they need some help
  • Do not ignore them if they do not approach you first – they may have a visual or hearing impairment or do not have the confidence to approach you
  • Do not judge them – not every disability is visible and it is important that you do not make assumptions about the person wearing the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower
  • Do not question them about their hidden disability – they do not have to disclose what it is
  • Talk to the person with the disability directly – they may be with a carer and may not necessarily be the one wearing the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower
  • If they have an assistance or service dog, discourage other customers and colleagues from approaching or petting the dog as it is a working animal

2 – Be kind

  • Smile, be sensitive to their feelings and understanding of what the wearer is asking for
  • Make eye contact – this puts people at ease and shows respect
  • Talk and act normally
  • Be patient

3 – Listen closely

  • Everyone is different so listen carefully to what the person with the hidden disability is asking for
  • Give them the choice - do not second guess what they might need
  • If you are not clear on what they need, ask them again and be patient

4 – Show respect

  • Do not leave them if they are struggling to explain what they need
  • Give them time to finish what they are trying to say
  • Stop what you are doing to help them – do not multitask
  • Describe what you are doing to help them – they maybe visually impaired.