(Image: Danny Loo/Welwyn Hatfield Times)

(Source: Sainsbury’s)

Sainsbury’s and Argos have today announced the nationwide rollout of sunflower lanyards in all stores, to help enhance the shopping experience for customers with hidden disabilities.

Following a successful trial earlier this year, the initiative offers shoppers the option to pick up a sunflower lanyard in store, which has been purposely designed to act as a discreet sign for store colleagues that they may need to provide a customer with additional support.

As the first retailer to trial the lanyards last year, Sainsbury’s and Argos 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.

Colleagues will be happy to provide extra support such as assisting with finding shopping items or simply giving customers more time at the checkout. Lanyards will be available to collect for free and are for each customer to keep so they can use it every time they come into store.

The sunflower design is now recognised by a number of organisations across the UK and was initially adopted by Gatwick Airport, whom Sainsbury’s worked closely with throughout the trial. By using the same design, it means customers have the option to use their lanyard in shops across the UK, in the knowledge that store colleagues will recognise what it stands for.

Tim Fallowfield, Board Sponsor for Disability Carers and Age at Sainsbury’s,said:

“As we work towards our vision of being the UK’s most inclusive retailer, we’re proud to be offering sunflower lanyards in all stores. Not all disabilities are visible, and it’s clear that a subtle signal can make a big difference in providing confidence and reassurance. Together with our colleagues, we hope to give all our customers the best possible experience when shopping, while working with the wider industry to raise awareness.”

Sainsbury’s and Argos will also be hosting an Autism Hour on 9 October, in support of the National Autistic Society. This involves stores creating a calmer environment with methods including turning down the tannoy, self-checkout sounds and café music.

Visit your nearest store for more information.