Tesco joins the sunflower lanyard scheme to help people with hidden disabilities

Disabled customers will be able to wear a sunflower lanyard as a discreet sign they might need staff help with their shopping

Tesco has launched a new initiative to provide better in-store accessibility to people with hidden disabilities.

The UK retailer will provide sunflower lanyards to people to wear as a discreet sign they have a hidden disability and might need help with their shopping.

Hidden disabilities include sight/hearing problems, epilepsy, autism, diabetes, chronic fatigue syndrome, cystic fibrosis and mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, attention deficit disorder, learning disabilities, and agoraphobia.

When spotting a sunflower lanyard, staff will be able to come to the customer and provide them with additional help such as speaking face-to-face, lip-reading, packing bags into customer’s cars or reading labels for partially-sighted customers, Birmingham Live reports .

Every Tesco store will have a sign saying that the sunflower lanyard is recognised on the shop premises.

The UK retailer has added a number of additional Changing Places accessible toilets over the last few years. In 2020 they installed their 100th Changing Places toilet.

These toilets are provided with extra space to accommodate every kind of disability. They also come with additional features such as privacy screens, hoists, and a height-adjustable adult-sized changing bench.

Tesco is part of the Valuable 500 – a group of British companies that have vouched for disability inclusion to be a priority in their agenda.

This policy is aiming to make stores more accessible to customers and staff.

Alessandra Bellini, Tesco chief customer officer said: “We work hard to ensure that everyone feels welcome at Tesco and want our stores to be as accessible as possible

“It’s clear how important Changing Places and sunflower lanyards are to our customers who need them and we’ll continue to explore ways we can do more for customers with disabilities.”

For the first time, the Tesco Christmas TV ad also came with an audio-description option for partially-sighted viewers.

And in October, the supermarket trialled a quiet hour as part of the National Autistic Society’s Autism Hour, where stores dimmed the lights and lowered noise levels to create a calmer atmosphere for autistic customers. 

In 2018, Tesco became the first UK supermarket to launch larger nappies specifically designed for children with disabilities.

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