The sunflower lanyard is now available in all Tesco stores to customers who may have a hidden disability Image Tesco

©Tesco PLC

Hidden Disabilities Sunflower lanyards can help people who have disabilities that are not immediately obvious to others

Bedford Borough Council has teamed up with Cambridgeshire Community Health Services NHS Trust, The Harpur Centre, Love Bedford (Bedford BID), Bedford Borough Parent Carer Forum and Access Bedford to support a project to help people in the Borough feel more confident when going into the community again.

Hidden Disabilities Sunflower lanyards can help people who have disabilities that are not immediately obvious to others. This could include people with learning difficulties, those living with dementia or poor mental health, as well as mobility, speech, visual or hearing impairments.

Wearing the sunflower lanyard indicates to others, including shop workers, members of the community, colleagues and health professionals that additional support, help or a little patience may be needed. Cllr Wendy Rider, portfolio holder for Adults Services, said:

“There are around 35,000 people with a disability in Bedford Borough, 80% of whom will have a hidden disability. Many will have been self-isolating due to Covid-19 and be anxious about getting back out and about. We hope that by taking part in this initiative we can help them feel more confident in their communities.

“Some people with a hidden disability are not able to wear a face covering and are therefore exempt and unfortunately we have heard instances where people have been criticised and even verbally abused for not following guidance.

“We hope that this initiative will help with people’s understanding as well as increasing awareness of the support people with hidden disabilities may require.”

Hidden disabilities affect each person in a different way, and can be painful, exhausting, and isolating. Without visible evidence of the hidden disability, it is frequently difficult for others to acknowledge the challenges faced.

To get a free lanyard for yourself, a family member or friend with a hidden disability, visit one of the following places in Bedford Borough. Please continue to follow social distancing guidelines:

  • Tesco
  • Bedford Central Library
  • The Higgins Bedford
  • Halifax bank
  • Lloyds Bank
  • Morrisons
  • Sainsbury’s
  • M&S food halls

If you or someone you know has a hidden disability and want more information about services, support, information and advice, clubs and activities then visit the Bedford Borough Local Offer.