An initiative to support people with non-obvious disabilities has been launched by Overgate.
The Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Lanyard Scheme aims to highlight that not all disabilities, such as autism, chronic pain, dementia, anxiety, visual or hearing impairment, are visible or immediately obvious.
Living with a hidden disability can make daily life more demanding for many people, but it can be difficult for others to recognise the challenges faced. The sunflower, with its distinctive vibrancy and universally-known appearance, is the symbol of the scheme. Wearing the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower discreetly indicates to Overgate staff, retailers and members of the public that an individual may need additional support or a little more time.
Launching today, 1 October, Overgate’s Customer Service Desk will be decorated in a colourful sunflower-theme courtesy of local florist Olly Bobbins whilst the Overgate team can be identified by their distinctive sunflower t-shirts. Hidden Disabilities Sunflower products will be available free of charge upon request at the customer service desk along with information literature, in-centre posters and social media posts, plus a website page (https://www.overgate.co.uk/accessibility/) will share the details too. TUI and Argos within the centre are also supporting the scheme and have the lanyards available.
In the spirit of goodwill, Metta Ramsay, Retail Marketing Manager at Overgate has put the sewing machine skills she learned during lockdown to good use by creating 50 sunflower printed face coverings which will also be available from the Customer Service Desk in return for a small donation to Help for Kids.
As well as Overgate, the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower has also been adopted by other large organisations including Argos, Tesco, Sainsburys, M&S and multiple airports.
Malcolm Angus, Centre Manager of Overgate said;
“Overgate is pleased to be launching this scheme which we hope will be of benefit to those with a hidden disability. The centre is committed to doing everything it can to provide a welcoming and inclusive shopping experience for customers. Along with other existing measures such as the weekly Quiet Hour, Shopmobility and various Accessibility services, this new scheme reinforces Overgate’s commitment further.”