2 July 2021 – One in five New Zealanders have a disability and 80 per cent of those are invisible ones.
People with hidden disabilities experience challenges as they travel or visit facilities around the country.
Life Unlimited Charitable Trust has linked up with the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Scheme and Australian reseller Bayley House to support the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Scheme by becoming the authorised New Zealand distributor.
The Hidden Disabilities Sunflower started in the United Kingdom five years ago when London Gatwick Airport staff asked how they could recognise if one of their passengers had a non-obvious disability.
The answer was a lanyard with a sunflower design on a green background.
The Sunflower exists to help those with disabilities, that are not immediately obvious, such as autism, chronic pain, dementia, anxiety, visual impairment or being hard of hearing.
The lanyard allows wearers to make their invisible challenges visible by discreetly indicating to others, including staff, colleagues, and health professionals, that they may need extra support, care, and time.
Life Unlimited chief executive Megan Thomas said Life Unlimited was delighted to be involved in the Hidden Disabilities programme.
“The Sunflower Lanyard is all about giving people an option to be confident in navigating their way around the community.
“We celebrate businesses who support the Sunflower Lanyard as a way of building greater disability awareness amongst their staff and help make our community more accessible.”
Australian-based Hidden Disabilities business manager Helene Larochelle said partnering with Life Unlimited and its sub brands Altogether Autism, Mobility Centre and Hearing Therapy was significant.
“We are delighted that Life Unlimited has become an official representative of the Sunflower in New Zealand and we are excited to be working together to raise awareness in the region.
“New Zealanders with hidden disabilities will feel increasingly supported that the Sunflower will be recognised, and that they will be met with kindness, understanding and patience.”
Life Unlimited will have the right to sell the Sunflower products in New Zealand through Mobility Centre, its equipment provider, which has an online store and stores in Hamilton, Tauranga, Hastings and Lower Hutt.
Altogether Autism offers free training to businesses wanting to welcome wearers of the Sunflower lanyards.
About the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower
- The Hidden Disabilities Sunflower was established in the UK in 2016. Since then, it has been adopted globally by major airports and venues, and an increasing number of small and large businesses and organisations.
- Details of how to join the scheme can be found here