Hidden disabilities sunflower scheme extended across county

This story was published 23 June 2021

The hidden disabilities sunflower lanyard scheme has been extended across all libraries in North Yorkshire.

Hidden disability lanyard

The aim is to enhance the library experience for customers with hidden disabilities, such as autism, dementia, visual or hearing impairment and anxiety. The move follows a successful pilot at Harrogate library. 

Customers can pick up a free sunflower lanyard in the library. The lanyard acts as a discreet sign that they may need extra time or support when using the library. Staff and volunteers have had awareness training and are happy to assist.

The sunflower design is recognised by numerous organisations, including many shops, airports and supermarkets. Using the same design means customers can use their lanyard with organisations across the UK in the knowledge that the community will recognise its meaning. 

North Yorkshire County Councilor Greg White, Executive Member for Libraries, said: “Not all disabilities are visible and it can be difficult for others to identify, acknowledge or understand the challenges people may face. We want everyone to feel welcome when they visit the library and we are proud to be part of this national initiative.”

Laura Hellfeld, who runs Kokopie Families and who introduced library staff in Harrogate to the scheme ahead of the pilot, said: “I am excited that more venues like our local libraries are supporting the sunflower lanyard scheme. Families like ours in the disabled community can be more relaxed in knowing that there will be measures in place such as higher trained staff to assist us or access to a relaxing space.”

For queries about the scheme in libraries, contact Lyndsay Glover on 01609 536202, lyndsay.glover@northyorks.gov.uk. Find more information from the hidden disabilities store.