This month, we welcomed our first Sunflower member from Germany, Berlin Brandenburg Airport and our first Sunflower member from Colombia, El Dorado Airport, Bogata. Thanks to these new members joining the community, the Sunflower is now recognised at 192 airports across 28 countries! Demonstrable that the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower is experiencing steady international growth helping us achieve our goal of becoming a truly global network where Sunflower wearers are recognised and supported everywhere, and anywhere, they choose to be seen.

The Hidden Disabilities Sunflower has been successfully operating in the UK since 2016. In addition to the UK Head Office, the Sunflower has operations in: USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Ireland and the UAE. The Sunflower is recognised in over 50 countries world-wide, with 3.5 million lanyards distributed to those that need them.

But we don't want to stop there. We want your business to become a part of this journey. This is why we created the Sunflower journey planner.

What is the Sunflower journey planner?

In order to help our Sunflower wearers feel secure and supported when they leave the relative comfort and safety of their home environment, we created a Sunflower journey planner. Depending on how far people need to travel to reach their destination, or the nature of their invisible disability, Sunflower wearers may use this functionality of our site to plan their route including stops along the way. This could be a place to stop for refreshment, to utilise accessible bathrooms, a place to sit down and rest or to simply stop at a retailer where they know that they will be recognised and supported without judgement.

The planner is similar to other way finding aps. Sunflower wearers simply add their starting point and destination to the map, enter the mode of transport and plan their route. The difference with our route planner is that people can then see all the businesses that recognise the Sunflower along the way.

Here's an example of how a section of a route planned from West London, UK to Guildford, UK would appear. As you can see, once a wearer clicks a location dot, the clickable company name, sector and a brief description appears. People can then click into your company page to find out more about you!

A screen shot of the Sunflower route planner displaying a section of the route from London W4 to Guildford, driving. In the righthand panel is a map with red teardrops showing where Sunflower friendly places are.

How to include your business in the planner and ensure it stands out!

You may have already added your location on the Sunflower map but have you completed your company page? Have you added a description of your business, a logo, added some stand out photos of your business and included all your accessibility icons to demonstrate how you've tried to ensure your business is inclusive for all?

Take a look at the Liverpool Empire Theatre page. When scrolling down the list of Sunflower friendly places that sit adjacent to the map, a Sunflower wearer can quickly identify that this theatre supports those with hearing impairments, visual impairments and mobility issues thanks to their use of accessibility icons. Once we've clicked into the page, their contact details are included along with a photo of the theatre and they've helpfully told wearers that they provide Sunflower lanyards to those that would like to wear one.

To improve your company listing, simply log in to the members area of the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower store and click on the yellow button at the top to access members information. From this menu you can access manage my locations as well as the My Sunflower membership checklist which seeks to ensure that you are making the most of all your Sunflower member benefits.