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Published March 8, 2023

Hidden Disabilities Sunflower

The Club can confirm that Portman Road will partake in the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower scheme.

Launched in 2016, The Hidden Disabilities Sunflower is a simple tool for an individual to voluntarily share that they have a disability or condition that may not be immediately apparent – and that they may need a helping hand, understanding, or more time in shops, at work, on transport, or in public spaces.

Globally, one in seven people live with a disability. Of those, around 80% are invisible, meaning that over one billion people in the world live with a non-visible disability.

These disabilities can be temporary, situational or permanent. They can be neurological, cognitive and neurodevelopmental as well as physical, visual, auditory and include sensory and processing difficulties. They can also be respiratory, including asthma, while chronic health conditions such as asthma, arthritis and diabetes, chronic pain and sleep disorders would also apply.

They can include, but are not limited to, autism and ADHD, cognitive impairments such as learning difficulties and dementia, as well as mental health conditions and speech, visual impairments or hearing loss.

Often, many people experience a combination of both visible and non-visible impairments and conditions.

Supporters who wish to share that they have a disability or condition that is not necessarily immediately obvious can do so by wearing a Hidden Disabilities Sunflower lanyard.

Club stewards and other supporter-facing staff have received training to ensure that they can provide further assistance for those wearing a lanyard, where required.

This move, which comes during Level Playing Field’s Unite For Access campaign, marks another step towards making Portman Road, both on matchdays and non-matchdays, a more inclusive and accessible environment.

It also follows the announcement that sensory packs, which are provided by Ipswich Town Foundation, will now be available on matchdays at Portman Road.

Lee Smith, the Club’s Disability Liaison Officer, said: “The Club continues to strive to be as inclusive and accessible as possible. Working with the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower scheme will help supporters who may need extra time or assistance to feel more included whilst at Portman Road.

“It’s also an opportunity for supporters to acknowledge that some of their fellow fans may need more time, patience and understanding.

“Asking a supporter the simple question, ‘are you ok?’ may just make all the difference to their experience on a matchday or non-matchday.”

Supporters can purchase a Hidden Disabilities Sunflower lanyard via their online shop here.