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The Sunflower Lanyard - Invisible Disability Scheme

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Supporting a safe and inclusive Staffs experience, Staffordshire University and Staffordshire University Students’ Union support the Sunflower Lanyard scheme.

The Invisible Disabilities Sunflower lanyard scheme is a national initiative designed to act as a discreet sign that somebody has an invisible disability and may require additional assistance while out in public.

History of the scheme

sunflower-lanyardThe scheme was first launched in 2016 at Gatwick Airport by designers, Tabbers Limited, alongside the OCS Group UK, who provide support services to UK airports. More than 10,000 lanyards have been collected.

Today the lanyard is recognised at international airports, cinemas, shopping centres and several NHS Trusts as more UK airports, supermarkets, railway stations and sports venues distribute the lanyard. Sainsbury’s has been the first supermarket to trial the scheme with 40 stores. Tesco is also trialling the scheme in 15 Hertfordshire stores.

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Face Covering Exemptions

Under COVID-19 guidance, some people are exempt from wearing face coverings. To support our staff and students, last year Staffordshire University joined The Invisible Disabilities Sunflower lanyard scheme, making sunflower lanyards available for all staff and students to allow members of our community signify that they are exempt from face coverings in a discreet way - should they choose to do so.

While the scheme is not a requirement by law, our University has taken the decision to ask all students, staff and visitors to work with us in doing everything we can to keep our University community safe during the pandemic.

If you have an exemption, you will never be asked for any personal information, but when on campus please be ready to show evidence that you are following the government exemption declaration if you choose not to wear a sunflower lanyard.

We'd like to thank the vast majority of people who are adhering to the policy to wear a face covering as requested.

If you don't have an exemption, please bring your face covering and wear it in all areas outlined in the official guidance at all times.

It is vitally important that we all work together to keep our campuses COVID-secure.

Frequently Asked Questions

Am I eligible for a sunflower lanyard?

Any member of our University community with an invisible disability can get a lanyard. There is no qualifying list of disabilities as the lanyard only signifies that the wearer has an invisible disability and may need assistance.

Where can I collect a sunflower lanyard?

Sunflower lanyards can now be collected from a number of locations across our Campuses. These include:

  • Stoke-On-Trent –  Trent Building Reception (Leek Road)
  • Stafford – Centre of Health Innovation Library  
  • Shrewsbury  - Library 
  • Staffordshire University London - Reception

How can I get a sunflower lanyard ahead of coming to campus?

We recognise that some individuals will want to have a lanyard ahead of arriving on campus. In order to be able to collect a lanyard, you will first need to complete our online request form. Once you have submitted this form you will need to go to your nearest collection point, as detailed above. 

I already have a sunflower lanyard; can I use that?

The sunflower lanyard is part of a national scheme and has been in use in airports and some supermarkets for a few years now. If you already have one, you are welcome to use it and there is no need to collect a new one.

Why ‘invisible disabilities’ not hidden?

Whilst the national scheme calls itself the ‘hidden disabilities’ sunflower lanyard scheme, Staffordshire University is using the term invisible disabilities. We are proud of the diverse make-up of our University and would not want anyone to feel they should hide who they are.