Press Release / 05 November 2019

intu backs sunflower lanyard scheme ahead of Purple Tuesday

intu shopping centres are the first in the UK to back the sunflower lanyard scheme to provide more help to visitors with hidden disabilities.

People with invisible conditions can collect and wear a lanyard at any of intu’s popular destinations across the country to signal that they may need more support during their visit.

It will act as a discreet sign to staff that the wearer could require help or a little extra time with things like finding their way around a centre or store and getting access to a quiet space or close-by toilet facilities, due to conditions such as autism, dementia or diabetes.

We want to ensure that intu’s retail and leisure destinations are accessible and inclusive destinations for everyone. Nobody should feel excluded.

Amanda Campbell
Corporate affairs and sustainability director at intu

Demand for the initiative has soared since it was first introduced by Gatwick Airport, with more than 10,000 sunflower lanyards collected from there following its launch three years ago.

intu has worked with Gatwick Airport to roll out the scheme to some of the UK’s most popular shopping and leisure destinations including intu Trafford Centre, intu Lakeside and intu Metrocentre. And for the first time ever, people with assistance dogs can also collect a sunflower dog lead sleeve that will allow staff to easily recognise and support anyone bringing the animal into an intu centre.

The initiative is one of a number of measures that have been undertaken by intu as part of its aim to offer the UK’s most accessible shopping and leisure destinations and is being rolled out ahead of Purple Tuesday (12th November), a day devoted to the needs of disabled shoppers.

Free sensory backpacks, which contain a number of different items to help autistic children enjoy their shopping experience, are also available to hire from intu centres across the UK this month following a successful trial at intu Metrocentre and intu Eldon earlier this year. Designed by parents of autistic children, the bags include ear defenders, egg timers, sunglasses, fidget toys and autism guides to each intu centre. 

Having two children on the autistic spectrum and attempting shopping is difficult for many reasons. They may act in a way that seems strange to others, but the lanyard may help them understand why.

Charley Ann
intu Lakeside visitor

Amanda Campbell, corporate affairs and sustainability director at intu, said: “We want to ensure that intu’s retail and leisure destinations are accessible and inclusive destinations for everyone. Nobody should feel excluded.”

“This will also support our customers to attract more people to their stores, restaurants and leisure attractions by ensuring every visitor feels welcome to enjoy a compelling experience at an intu centre.”

intu Lakeside visitor Charley Ann said: “Having two children on the autistic spectrum and attempting shopping is difficult for many reasons. They may act in a way that seems strange to others, but the lanyard may help them understand why. It’s also great for staff members to identify that we may need extra assistance.”

Every intu centre already runs regular quiet hours and their staff are trained to support people with autism and dementia.

Mark Thomson

Job title PR manager

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