The Purple Pound is worth more than £249 billion to the UK economy. Disabled people make up an estimated 20% of the population. Making retail outlets more accessible benefits everyone, from the disabled customers themselves to the retailers that bring in extra profit.

The Sunflower Lanyard Scheme is one way for retailers to offer help and support for customers with disabilities. Those with hidden disabilities can wear the Sunflower Lanyard – an easily recognisable green lanyard dotted with yellow sunflowers – to alert staff to the fact that they may need extra help and support.

Argos and Sainsbury’s, who joined together in 2016 when Sainsbury’s acquired the Home Retail Group, have now announced a national roll-out of the scheme within their stores.

Argos and Sainsbury’s Rollout

From October 7th, all Sainsbury’s and Argos stores have the Sunflower Lanyard available for customers. This follows a limited store trial in Summer 2018.

Sainsbury’s was the first UK supermarket to trial the scheme, originally launched in their Barnstaple branch. It extended, in August 2018, to a total of 40 UK Sainsbury’s stores.

Shoppers can pick up a lanyard in store, and wear it whilst shopping. In many stores, the lanyard does not need to be returned at the end of the customer’s visit. It can then be used on future shopping trips, or in other locations (including many airports, retail outlets and visitor attractions) where the Sunflower Lanyard Scheme is also supported.

Sainsbury’s claims that, with their rollout, they “hope to build on the success of the scheme, by providing reassurance to customers with hidden disabilities such as autism, dementia, visual or hearing impairment and anxiety.”

Sunflower Lanyard Scheme History

The Sunflower Lanyard has been introduced to help improve identification. It was first used at Gatwick Airport in 2016.

Sainsbury’s worked closely with Gatwick Airport throughout the original Sunflower Lanyard trial, making the decision to use lanyards of the same design rather than adopting their own in-store scheme.

Marketing the Sunflower Lanyard Scheme

Sainsbury’s announced its rollout of the Sunflower Lanyard Scheme using a video published on social media profiles. The video on YouTube was shared more than 12,000 times.

The Sunflower Lanyard Scheme is operated and managed by the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Charitable Trust, with lanyards now shipped globally.

Other retailers and organisations wishing to join the scheme can email the Hidden Disabilities team for further details about getting involved.