Hidden disabilities


On 27 September 2021 the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower scheme was launched in North Somerset. We work to champion the scheme in partnership with local town councils in Clevedon, Nailsea, Portishead and Weston-super-Mare.

An estimated 1 in 5 people in the UK have a disability, with 80% of them having a hidden disability.

The aim of the Sunflower scheme is to support people who have a disability that is not always obvious to others such as:

  • autism
  • chronic pain
  • dementia
  • anxiety
  • visual or hearing impairment 

Paul White, CEO, Hidden Disabilities Sunflower says:

"Disability can make daily life more demanding and people are affected in different ways. It can be painful, exhausting, and isolating. Without visible evidence of the disability, it is frequently difficult for others to acknowledge the challenges faced and as a consequence, sympathy and understanding can often be in short supply. We are delighted that the joint commitment by the councils to train customer facing staff to recognise and support Sunflower wearers."

About the scheme

The scheme was first launched in the UK in 2016, and it has since been adopted by:

  • supermarkets
  • railway and coach stations
  • leisure facilities
  • NHS
  • police, fire, and ambulance services 

The Hidden Disabilities Sunflower lanyard can be worn by anyone with a hidden disability as a discreet way to indicate to others that they (or someone with them) may need additional support, help, or a little more time. 

The scheme is being recognised across all our public facing services including:

  • libraries
  • children’s centres
  • town council offices

The council staff working in those venues have received training in hidden disabilities and the types of support people wearing the Sunflower might need.

More information

If you’d like more information about the scheme, please visit the Hidden Disabilities website.