Ricoh Arena will be introducing a scheme that supports those with hidden disabilities.
Visitors to the Midlands-based venue will soon be able to pick up a sunflower-themed lanyard to signify that they have a disability or condition that may not be immediately obvious when looking at them.
The Hidden Disabilities Sunflower was first launched at Gatwick Airport in May 2016, and is now starting to be recognised globally, as well as being adopted in the UK by all major airports, many supermarkets, railway stations, leisure facilities, in the NHS and an increasing number of small and large businesses and organisations. The scheme was launched to highlight the fact that living with a hidden disability can make daily life more demanding for many people, but that it can be difficult for others to recognise, acknowledge or understand the challenges faced.
Whilst many other sporting venues do recognise the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower, Ricoh Arena is one of the first exhibition venues to join the initiative.
The lanyards will be permanently available at Wasps’ ticket office and at Ricoh Arena’s main reception for the 1.3m visitors that visit Ricoh Arena every year for live sport, music, conferences and exhibitions from 28 March 2020.
Senior community development officer at Wasps, Jordan Young, was the driving force behind bringing the initiative to Ricoh Arena.
Young said: “Introducing the sunflower lanyard adds to the great work that is already being done with the club’s pitch-facing sensory room which is used by families for Wasps matches.
“Not all disabilities – such as autism, deafness and learning disabilities – are obvious to the general public, and these lanyards will play a crucial role in notifying venue staff and other visitors that the lanyard wearers may require additional assistance.
“We will be training as many of our staff as we can around increasing understanding of disabilities, and how we can make a positive impact across the business for customers with disabilities.
“Thousands of people visit Wasps matches and other events at The Ricoh every year, and we’re hoping we can do our part by spreading awareness of the initiative even further.”
Which hidden disabilities are eligible for a sunflower lanyard?
- Autism and Asperger’s
- Learning disabilities
- Mobility issues (e.g arthritis, MS, ME, chronic illness)
- Visual or hearing impairments
- Why a sunflower?
A sunflower was chosen to represent happiness, positivity and strength, whilst allowing those with hidden disabilities to choose to be visible when they need to be. The sunflower is also a universally recognised gender-neutral flower which is very visible against the lanyard’s green background.
For more information about the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower lanyard, visit www.hiddendisabilitiesstore.com