A place to work

OLIVER – who design, build and run in-house agencies and marketing ecosystems for brands – has joined the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower.

This is the latest progression in OLIVER’s ongoing commitment to actively create a pro-inclusive, anti-racist organisation – where everyone feels safe, supported and like they belong.

In addition to making the Sunflower lanyards available to employees with an invisible disability, OLIVER is training staff to identify the Sunflower, help them to gain a deeper understanding of non-visible disabilities and learn how to support Sunflower wearers.

Paul White, from Hidden Disabilities Sunflower said; “OLIVER is demonstrating its commitment to disability inclusion by joining the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower global network and beginning its journey of knowledge about invisible disabilities. Everyone will have access to the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower training which opens conversations about disability and is a catalyst to normalising disability and exploring work-place adjustments. The Sunflower is a discreet sign that can be recognised easily, importantly people with non-visible disabilities wear it when and where they choose, at work, leisure, education or home.”

Vijay Chohan, Global Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Partner at OLIVER, commented on the new relationship; “Here at OLIVER and the Inside Ideas Group we are striving to foster a culture of inclusion, for all of our employees with all abilities. We have joined the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower, to raise awareness, encourage conversation and reduce the stigma around living and working with a hidden disability.”

Building places to be 

Chantal from the Sunflower delivers a presentation to a room full of people. The presentation is about the Sunflower

Great Portland Estate celebrated the launch of their partnerships with disability led businesses: Purple, Hidden Disabilities Sunflower and SEND Coffee.

It was a great opportunity for people to learn more about what they do and how we can all make a difference, from designing safe, inclusive spaces to providing a supportive environment in the workplace and also across the Great Portland Estate portfolio.

Speakers James Houlihan & Charlene Overend from Purple, Chantal Boyle from Hidden Disabilities Sunflower and Jack Dobby from SEND Coffee spoke about what they do and how we can all work together to make the spaces we live and work in inclusive for all.

75% of people who have a disability walk away from a business because of poor accessibility or customer service. Great Portland Estate have completed several audits of their spaces to better understand how they can identify potential physical, cognitive and sensory barriers that exist and will be making the necessary improvements.

Following this work, the Great Portland Estate have now achieved level one of becoming a ‘Disability Confident Committed’ employer and will soon be rolling out targeted disability awareness training to their people to take this to the next level.

A place to stay 

To mark this year’s Purple Tuesday, hospitality sector sponsor Whitbread is committing to the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower.

The pledge is part of Whitbread’s diversity and inclusion programme under its Force for Good corporate social responsibility scheme which commits to creating opportunities for teams and guests, giving back to local communities and operating responsibly.

The UK’s biggest hospitality company Whitbread, welcomes millions of guests into its Premier Inn hotels and restaurant brands including Beefeater and Brewers Fayre every month.

Recognising that without a visual cue, it can be difficult for people - including those working in hospitality - to identify, acknowledge, or understand the daily barriers faced by people living with an invisible disability, the Sunflower cleverly allows guests to choose to wear a lanyard featuring the Sunflower logo to indicate they may need extra assistance.

In addition to delivering the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower training across its 30,000 team members to understand and recognise the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower, Whitbread will also be displaying information in its hotels and restaurants across the UK, showing it is a ‘Sunflower-friendly’ business.

Simon Ewins, Managing Director for Premier Inn and Restaurants and the Executive Sponsor for Disability Inclusion: “We are delighted be the hospitality sector sponsor for Purple Tuesday and launch the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower in our hotels and restaurants across the UK. We’re proud to welcome millions of disabled customers, as well as people with long-term health conditions, to our hotels and restaurants across the UK every year. True inclusion never stands still – it’s a commitment that continually evolves and we are always looking for ways to improve our guest experience, which is why we’re so proud to be part of the global network. As an inclusive employer we also know it’s an initiative that will inspire our team members, some of course who themselves have disabilities, and we are therefore really looking forward to getting our restaurants teams as well as our very own ‘purple people’ behind Purple Tuesday both on the day itself and year-round.”

Paul White, CEO, Hidden Disabilities Sunflower said: “We are delighted that Whitbread have joined the global Hidden Disabilities Sunflower network and have trained 30,000 employees to support Sunflower wearers in their many hotels and restaurants. Our goal is simply to improve the everyday experiences for people with non-visible disabilities, ensuring that they have an end-to-end journey when wearing the Sunflower be it for work or leisure. Visitors and guests can feel confident that they will be met with kindness, understanding and patience when dining or enjoying a night at any one of the 800+ Premier Inn hotels.”