Britain’s major stations offer discreet way to ask for help

Sunflowers lanyards for passnegers with hidden disabilities
Credit: Network Rail

Four of the UK’s biggest railway stations are now offering passengers with hidden disabilities a discreet way to ask for extra help.

Launched this week, sunflower branded lanyards and ticket holders can now be picked up by passengers at Manchester Piccadilly, London Euston, Liverpool Lime Street and Birmingham New Street.

The lanyard and ticket holders, which are voluntary for anyone who would benefit from them, act as a subtle sign for staff that additional support or help may be needed.

Network Rail employees at all four stations have been specially trained to understand what the sunflower stands for.

The initiative is supported by RNIB and other charities including Alzheimer’s Society, The National Autistic Society and Action on Hearing Loss.

The types of hidden disabilities that are eligible for a sunflower lanyard include:

  • Autism and Asperger’s
  • Learning disabilities
  • Dementia
  • Mobility issues (e.g arthritis, MS, ME, chronic illness)
  • Visual or hearing impairments.

The four stations will trial the sunflower scheme for three months.

What did the officials say?

Karen Hornby, head of performance and customer relationship for Network Rail, said:

“Travelling by rail for passengers with additional needs can be a daunting experience and we’re always looking at ways our staff can make it easier for people. The sunflower symbol is the perfect way for passengers to discreetly identify themselves to our staff so we can do everything we can to make their journeys as smooth as possible.”

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