Hidden Disabilities Sunflower

Hidden Disabilities Sunflower is a British scheme and company created to help people with hidden disabilities navigate and find help in public places.


The scheme was created in 2016 by Gatwick Airport and various charities.[1] In April 2019, London North Eastern Railway became the first railway company to recognise the scheme. By July 2020, all British railway companies had adopted the sunflower lanyard scheme as a means for passengers to let staff members know they may need more assistance, and that they may be medically exempt from wearing a face covering.[2]

The scheme has now been adopted by airports in the United States, including Tulsa International Airport[3] and Central Illinois Regional Airport.[4]


Sunflower lanyards and badges can be obtained for free at participating venues or purchased directly from the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower company website. Hidden Disabilities Sunflower have criticised the resale of their products at inflated costs, and the sale of counterfeit products on websites including Amazon and eBay.[5]


The sunflower lanyards are intended to let staff members know that the wearer has a hidden disability and as a result may take longer or need extra assistance. Staff members are trained to spot the lanyards and help the wearer.[6]

During the COVID-19 pandemic, concerns were raised that the lanyards were being abused by nondisabled people for the purposes of avoiding wearing a face covering. Such usage has been criticised by Hidden Disabilities Sunflower, who have stated that only people who consider themselves to have a hidden disability (whether diagnosed or not) should wear the lanyard.[7]


  1. ^ O’Donoghue, Sarinah (2021-04-08). "Sunflower lanyards - what are they for?". BBC The Social. Retrieved 2021-06-28.
  2. ^ "All of Britain's rail companies to adopt Sunflower lanyard scheme". Rail Technology Magazine. 2020-07-28. Retrieved 2021-06-28.
  3. ^ "Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Lanyard Program Adopted at Tulsa International Airport". Aviation Pros. 2020-12-16. Retrieved 2021-06-28.
  4. ^ Skaggs, Robyn Gautschy (2021-06-18). "Central Illinois Regional Airport has a new way to help people with hidden disabilities". The Pantagraph. Retrieved 2021-06-28.
  5. ^ "Beware of the Sunflower counterfeits". Hidden Disabilities Sunflower. 2021-01-26. Retrieved 2021-06-28.
  6. ^ "Hidden disabilities lanyard scheme launched at Guernsey Airport". ITV. 2017-12-02. Retrieved 2021-06-28.
  7. ^ Evans, Paul (2021-01-25). "Concerns over misuse of hidden disabilities 'sunflower lanyard'". Tenby Observer. Retrieved 2021-06-28.

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