Gracechurch Centre Joins Sunflower Scheme for Individuals with Hidden Disabilities

Left – Sutton Town Centre Business improvement District Manager Mike Bushell and Angela Henderson Centre Manager of Gracechurch Shopping Centre.

The Gracechurch Centre in Sutton Coldfield is proud to announce that it has become a partner of the sunflower for hidden disabilities scheme.

Since its launch in 2016, wearing the hidden disabilities sunflower discreetly indicates to people around the wearer, including staff, colleagues, and health professionals, that they may require further assistance. The disabilities covered under the scheme range from hearing and sight loss to autism and anxiety, with the idea behind the scheme that a person can wear something to say they may need help without attracting further attention.

The Gracechurch Centre has already ordered sunflower lanyards and sunflower hidden disabilities exemptions from face coverings for those visiting the shopping centre and will continue to work with local disability charities to help address the added difficulties brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic.

All staff at the shopping centre have been trained to recognise the sunflower, and the customer care team will wear sunflower for hidden disabilities badges to state how they can help. The Gracechurch Centre has also installed posters about the scheme and all retailers have been made aware of the scheme to allow them to provide support.

As well as the Gracechurch Centre, the sunflower for hidden disabilities scheme has been adopted globally by major airports and venues and in the UK, by many supermarkets, railway and coach stations, leisure facilities, the NHS, a number of police, fire and ambulance services, and an increasing number of small and large businesses and organisations.

Angela Henderson, Centre Manager at The Gracechurch Centre, said: “The Gracechurch Centre prides itself on being an inclusive and welcoming retail destination. By signing up to the sunflower for hidden disabilities scheme, we can continue to support those who may need a little extra help when visiting us. The Covid-19 pandemic has caused disruption to everyone, but those with hidden disabilities have faced extra difficulties and supporting them is vital as we begin to move away from the height of the pandemic. We look forward to working with local disability charities to continue to roll out the scheme and allow people to feel more at ease and comfortable when shopping at the Gracechurch Centre.”

Mike Bushell, Sutton Coldfield Town Centre BID Manager, said: “The sunflower scheme is a wonderful initiative and we’re delighted to be supporting it throughout the town centre. We want all of our visitors to feel confident that their experience with us will be a positive one and be assured that they will be treated with fairness and respect.

“We hope the sunflower scheme will raise awareness of the many hidden illnesses and disabilities that some members of our community live with, and encourage both workers and fellow shoppers to give that little bit more help and understanding, which in turn will make a huge difference.”

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