The council supported a motion proposed by Councillor Alan Sutton to recognise the scheme at a Full Council meeting on 19 January. The initiative provides green lanyards dotted with sunflowers, as well as lapel badges and coronavirus face covering exemption badges, to people with hidden disabilities such as autism, asthma, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and other lung conditions. These conditions can have a significant impact on daily life, and so wearing these items acts as a discreet way of letting others know when someone may need extra help or understanding.

"It's important to remember that not all disabilities are immediately obvious and many do not have any physical signs," says Councillor Alan Sutton, Cabinet Member for Housing, Communications, Licensing and Events at Chichester District Council. "I know from personal experience that living with a hidden disability affects people in different ways and can be painful, exhausting and isolating. Without visible evidence of the hidden disability, it can be difficult for others to recognise and understand when others may need help. 

"The Hidden Disabilities Sunflower scheme is widely recognised by airports, businesses and venues across the country and we are proud to have officially adopted it in the Chichester District. This means that staff and councillors can be trained to recognise when someone may need additional support or extra time, which will go a long way in making the everyday lives of people with hidden disabilities a little easier."

As part of the pledge the council will:

  • Encourage local businesses to formally recognise the scheme.
  • Ensure that the council offices are Hidden Disability friendly and use the sunflower icon to promote this.
  • Provide training on the scheme to all staff and councillors to increase knowledge and understanding of hidden disabilities and their impact.
  • Actively promote the scheme to partners across the district including parish and town councils.

Date of release: 22 January 2021

Reference: 3971