A place to work efficiently

As part of their continued commitment to embedding accessibility into everything they do, Hable are proud to announce that they are now a Hidden Disabilities Sunflower member. Hable, an IT services and consultancy company, specialise in Microsoft 365, change management and user adoption. Hable help clients use these apps and programmes to unlock more efficient ways of working.

Globally there are around 1 billion people living with invisible disabilities. It’s up to all of us to ensure they are included. Which is why Hable have been working to launch the Sunflower internally, ensuring everyone in the organisation is trained on non-visible conditions. Something that will prove invaluable both when speaking to and working with colleagues, but also when delivering to customers. Already a Disability Confident Leader, joining the Sunflower felt like the next logical step on Hable's journey to be a truly accessible organisation.

“At Hable, we are continuously developing our framework that helps make us deliberately accessible,” says Steve Garside, Head of Marketing.“It is important to us to be putting people first and continually improving every day. Internally with colleagues, with our customers and through the solutions we offer. We feel that being part of the global Hidden Disabilities Sunflower network will help us all grow and we are immensely excited to work together.”

Paul White, CEO, Hidden Disabilities Sunflower said: “We are delighted that leading tech company Hable have joined the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower network. Accessibility isn’t an optional extra at Hable, it is integral to everything they do, ensuring that every engagement is accessible. Technology is at the core of society and it’s important that it’s an inclusive space, so that people with non-visible disabilities can work, access information and play. Hable are a Disability Confident Leader, and so together with the Sunflower, colleagues are offered support and understanding to bring their whole-selves to work.”

Hable are immensely proud to be part of this initiative and look forward to working closely with Hidden Disabilities Sunflower to raise awareness and support for those with non-visible conditions. For more information about accessibility at Hable, please visit this page.

A place of truly accessible vacations

A white sand path leading down to the blue ocean

New research by Ocean Holidays reveals the stress and uncertainty people with disabilities face when planning a holiday.

51% of respondents with a disability said going on holiday was associated with stress, whilst 36% related it with frustration.

Negative experiences when booking, or going, on holiday have impacted 65% of people with disabilities' attitudes towards travelling.

Nearly half (49%) of those surveyed have submitted an accessibility-related complaint, but for a fifth (21%) of these people, nothing was done about it.

Ocean Holidays, the UK’s fastest-growing travel company and Europe’s leading Florida holiday expert undertook the research to shed light on the issue. The Essex-based operator, now a registered member of the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower network, recently announced its new Accessibility Programme. Launched after 12 months of thorough research and development, the programme offers a service and resource hub dedicated to making holidays accessible for all, no matter the disability.

Following investment in rigorous staff training, customers can now book holidays knowing that every additional need is taken care of - whether at the airport or in resort – by staff with an unrivalled knowledge of accessible options in the Sunshine State of Florida, all at no extra cost. The programme takes a holistic approach, covering everything from mobility, visual and hearing impairment through to cognitive challenges with accessibility champions in all areas of the business.

The new Accessibility Programme on its website is also designed to be a resource for disabled travellers and their families, with information on everything from accessible restaurants to wheelchair-friendly sightseeing options while abroad.

“These findings underline the opportunity the travel industry has to make travel a better experience for the one in five individuals with disabilities in the UK,” said Harry Hastings, Co-CEO and Co-Founder of Ocean Holidays whose son Rudy has a rare genetic condition called MCAHS1, he went on to say “It’s great to see niche holiday operators serving the needs of so many but we also believe that it’s time that more mainstream travel companies step up with a more inclusive approach to supporting people with disabilities, and their families. As an industry, we have so much to do to vastly improve the holiday experience for people with disabilities. At Ocean Holidays, we are at the start of this journey, and we’ve taken steps to improve the experience across the board. We promise to do our best to provide people with disabilities the support they need to enjoy their dream holiday.”

Paul White, CEO, Hidden Disabilities Sunflower said: “We are delighted that Ocean Holidays has become a member of the global Hidden Disabilities Sunflower network to ensure that travelling abroad is accessible for all. The launch of Ocean Holidays’ Accessibility Programme demonstrates how businesses are starting to take disabilities seriously by reviewing their current offerings and practices. As the findings in this research show, there is still further to go for the wider travel industry to become fully inclusive for people with disabilities, but this is a positive step in the right direction.”

Learn more about Ocean Holidays.

A place to live and work

Cheshire East Council has announced its accreditation as a Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Scheme employer, showcasing its support for employees, members and residents who may have a disability or impairment that may not be immediately apparent.

Becoming a Sunflower member was driven with the help of the council’s Differently Abled staff network – an internal group of employees who represent those who have disabilities and work to promote accessibility and inclusion.

News of this accreditation falls during the beginning of UK Disability History Month, which started on 16 November, raising awareness of those with disabilities and celebrating their achievements.

To mark this occasion Cheshire East Council will be flying the purple disability flag from its corporate offices at the beginning of December, a flag which symbolises the contribution of disabled people in the workforce and wider community.

Councillor Marilyn Houston, Cheshire East Council equality, diversity and inclusion member champion, said: “We are so pleased to have been accredited as a Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Scheme employer, ensuring that we can now become more inclusive, and accommodating, to our employees, Members and customers whose disability may not be apparent physically.

“This is testament to the hard work from many individuals across the council, including our Differently Abled staff network group who work with colleagues to look at the different ways we can promote equality, accessibility and inclusion for all.

“Through this scheme colleagues, customers and visitors will have access to one of these lanyards to borrow on site from our libraries and customer service centres. We hope those with a hidden disability find it reassuring that we are taking inclusivity seriously, and see this as a positive step in making it easier for our customers to access, and understand better, the services we can provide.

“We will be working hard to promote more schemes such as this, and have committed to three modules of internal training for our staff to ensure everyone understands what the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Scheme is, and how it can help make lives easier for those who would previously have not received the additional support required.”

A place of justice

A young white man wearing a grey suite in a white office

Addleshaw Goddard is an International Law Firm that traces its history back to 1775.

Addleshaw Goddard recognise the importance of nurturing an inclusive culture to help attract, retain and enable their people to be the best they can be. Their diversity policy is designed to nurture talent, encourage growth through personal development and support the firm's wider business strategy. Addleshaw Goddard understand that diverse firms are more attractive to potential and existing employees and that culturally diverse teams are more innovative and agile. As part of this, they are committed to building an environment where disability inclusion is a part of the firm's DNA, and where people with disabilities, or those caring for others with a disability feel supported and empowered to reach their full potential.

"This year, to mark Disability History Month we were looking for a way that both colleagues with personal lived experience and those looking to stand as allies could come together to start important conversations around hidden disabilities, so we were thrilled to be able to support the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Scheme and bring the Sunflower to AG. This is an important campaign for us, as we look to build a culture of disability inclusion where people feel confident sharing their stories and learn more about others and their lived experiences. Thank you to the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Scheme for taking us ever closer to this goal." – Richard Fisk, Pro Bono & Inclusion Manager

A place to be treated

the exterior of a hospital building

Portsmouth NHS Trust have joined the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower and have a day of exciting events and talks for the staff to support their launch. Mark Orchard, Chief Finance Officer and Executive Sponsor of the DisAbility Staff Network is ensuring that disability inclusion is embded by leading the presentations for the day:

“The EDI team and Disability Staff Network are excited to launch the Sunflower Scheme at Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust (PHU). A hidden disability can make daily life more challenging. Wearing a badge or lanyard, discreetly indicates to people they may need additional support, help or more time.

All staff will be invited to participate in training on how to support staff and patients with a Sunflower lanyard or badge. Patients can expect awareness from staff that they may require extra time or support, and a respectful approach to offering extra help. It is important to us the scheme is embedded at PHU because it aligns with the Trust’s vision of “Working Together to drive excellence in care for our patients and communities” and our EDI strategy aim "Work towards Intentional Inclusion". Overall, ensuring we understand, value and respect everyone.”

A place of magic and imagination

A shop interior There are wooden crates, shelves and hampers filled with various objects

Grimm & Co is a Yorkshire literacy charity with a mission to change lives, one story at a time.  They provide exciting writing workshops for children and young people, aged 0-18, unleashing imaginations through the joyful discovery of stories. These workshops are all free and encourage children's self-esteem, resilience and self-belief, raising literacy levels and building confidence.

Grimm & Co also have a shop - a fantastical apothecary, selling everything that magical beings may need - giant belly button cleaners (for clearing out stray chickens), ready-blended potions for the busy witch/wizard (a wide range, including Grandma's Scabs, Middle-Aged Vitriol or A Pinch of Happiness), human disguises, invisibility, and much much more. The apothecary is a place to suspend your disbelief and inspire your imagination, encouraging literacy and family engagement with the products and activities that you will find. Children and families can take a book from their Forgotten Library or write a letter to a fairytale character (replies delivered by owl in 7-10 days), as well as taking part in various other spellbinding activities in the holidays. 

Grimm & Co are excited to have joined the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower scheme to support people with disabilities that may not be immediately visible, such as autism, dementia, mental health issues or learning difficulties.

If you'd like to get a feel for the pop-up shop located in the Old Town Hall in Rotherham town centre, you can find it online here.