IF you have a disability that may not be immediately obvious but would appreciate support from staff in airports or supermarkets, you might be interested to know there is a lanyard you can wear to signal this.

The RNIB say the lanyard, which is entirely voluntary for people with hidden disabilities and their families, acts as a discreet sign for staff that additional support or help may be required.

It's sometimes known as the 'sunflower lanyard' because of its appearance – a strip of green with a pattern of sunflowers.

Once you get one, it is yours to keep and use for future travels or shopping trips where the scheme is recognised.

The scheme was first launched in 2016 at Gatwick for passengers travelling through the airport.

Wearing the lanyard in UK airports can help you receive support with:

  • getting more time to prepare at check-in and security
  • getting a more comprehensive briefing on what to expect as you travel through the airport
  • staff assisting with reading a departure board or sign.

The lanyard was also trialled at Tesco and Sainsbury's earlier this year.

How to get a lanyard

If you’re due to fly from a major UK airport, you should be able to ask for a lanyard from an airport assistance desk, or order it in advance, depending on your chosen airport.

You can find out more about the best way of getting the lanyard by contacting the airport before you travel.

This initiative is being supported by RNIB and other charities including Alzheimer’s Society, The National Autistic Society and Action on Hearing Loss.

If you're travelling from Manchester Airport...

The sunflower lanyard permits access to the airport's family and priority lanes at security as well as the use of special assistance lanes at the UK Border on arrival into Manchester Airport.

A spokesman added: "Our staff have been specially trained to recognise the lanyards and act accordingly."

To pick up a lanyard at Manchester, go to one of the Assistance Reception areas.

These are available within Check-in halls in Terminal 1 A and B, Terminal 2 and Terminal 3.

The Sunflower Room

The Sunflower Room in Terminal 1 is to aid Special Assistance passengers who need to break away from the noise, bright lights and crowds of the main departure lounge to help them relax and feel calm in a quieter environment.

Passengers who require use of the room will be guided here as part of the Special Assistance Service.