A place to fly to

Passengers needing extra assistance due to hidden disabilities will now have greater support when travelling through Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA) Nassau, Bahamas. On Thursday 1 December 2022, Nassau Airport Development Company (NAD) launched the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower in conjunction with The National Commission for Persons with Disabilities and key airport stakeholders.

Globally, 1 in 7 persons have some form of a disability. Many of these disabilities are non-visible or hidden and can be physical, mental or neurological in nature. Wearing a Sunflower lanyard at LPIA will provide airport workers with a visual cue that a passenger may need extra assistance, additional time or more support while in terminal. While the Sunflower lanyard does not allow wearers the option to skip lines, it immediately indicates to airport staff that additional assistance might be required.

A black woman and black man wearing navy blue on  their training day. She holds a sunflower lanyard. He wears a sunflower pin

“Over the years, we have built LPIA with all users in mind including accessibility features in the physical airport space for persons with visible disabilities. This new initiative allows us to take it a step further by introducing a programme to support passengers with hidden disabilities,” said Vernice Walkine, President & CEO at NAD. “It is our hope that by implementing the Sunflower lanyard programme, persons with hidden disabilities will have an optimal experience while travelling through LPIA.”

Frontline workers who interact with passengers on a daily basis are currently undergoing training. Staff at check-in counters, pre-board screening, US Customs & Border Patrol (USCBP), Bahamas Customs and Immigration and others are in the first wave of training. Sessions focus on raising awareness of the Sunflower lanyard, sensitising workers to hidden disabilities and providing strategies to best assist passengers in various scenarios.

A place of medical development and care

NHS Golden Jubilee is the latest member of the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower network and the first Scottish NHS Board to introduce it across its entire organisation, including; Golden Jubilee University National Hospital, NHS Scotland Academy, national Centre for Sustainable Delivery, Golden Jubilee Research Institute and Golden Jubilee Conference Hotel.

By implementing the Sunflower at NHS Golden Jubilee, the organisation will be providing extra support to patients, visitors and colleagues in the Golden Jubilee University National Hospital, Eye Centre, Research Institute and Conference Hotel as well as in the NHS Scotland Academy and the national Centre for Sustainable Delivery.

An image of the entrance to Golden Jubilee Hospital

Susan Douglas-Scott CBE, Chair of NHS Golden Jubilee, commented:

“NHS Golden Jubilee has been supporting people with disabilities for 20 years as employers and as patients, family members, carers and visitors to our site. We were the first NHS Scotland Board to be accredited as a Disability Confident Leader and are delighted to be the first to introduce the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower across every part of our organisation. Joining the Sunflower network reflects our inclusive culture, where we work hard to ensure everyone feels valued and supported. I'm also a disabled person, so it's with great pride that NHS Golden Jubilee is part of the network. I have benefited very much during my career from the opportunity to discuss with employers my needs and how important it is to have those needs addressed. We hope this makes visits to or working at NHS Golden Jubilee that little bit easier for all of our disabled patients, visitors and colleagues who have either hidden or visible conditions.”

Mary McAuley, Chair of NHS Golden Jubilee’s staff Ability Network, commented:

“We launched the Ability Network last year to provide a support network for staff and raise awareness of disability and accessibility in the workplace. The Ability Network is delighted that NHS Golden Jubilee has shown its commitment to making our organisation as inclusive as possible by joining the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower network. People with long-term conditions and disabilities can continue to contribute greatly in the workplace. Wearing the Sunflower is a way of discreetly letting our colleagues know that we may need help or support to fulfil our roles to the best of our abilities.”

Paul White, Chief Executive Officer, Hidden Disabilities Sunflower said:

“We are delighted that NHS Golden Jubilee has joined the network and are ensuring that the Sunflower is recognised across the organisation. It is important that the NHS is accessible to all. Their commitment to disability inclusion is clear, and from the top down, that every staff member, patient or visitor with a non-visible disability will be met with an offer of support and understanding.”

A place to arrive - Bangalore

Navigating unfamiliar places and procedures while catching a flight can be stressful, especially for passengers with disabilities. While not all disabilities are visible some disabilities are invisible to an onlooker, such as low vision, autism, dementia, or hearing loss.

BLR Airport is now a member of the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower global network, an awareness initiative that discretely communicates to airport staff that passengers with an invisible disability may need additional support.

The Sunflower provides an extra layer of assistance for those coping with these issues and helps in making their airport experience more comfortable and anxiety-free. BLR Airport staff have been trained to identify those wearing Sunflower merchandise and to offer additional support, such as allowing more time for these passengers to complete a particular procedure or guiding them through airport processes.

The merchandise is available at the customer service kiosks in the terminal building just prior to entering security. They are free of charge and are for travellers only. While they do provide a discreet signal to airport staff, wearing this merchandise does not guarantee fast tracking through security or any preferential expedited service.