Preston North End are pleased to announce the introduction of the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower which will offer more support to fans and staff with hidden disabilities.
As part of the club’s #OneNorthEnd campaign and the ongoing commitment to deliver an inclusive environment for all, supporters can now choose to wear a Sunflower lanyard to share that they have a disability or condition which may not be immediately apparent.
There is no requirement for supporters to disclose their disability should they wish to wear the lanyard. Likewise, there is no qualifying list of disabilities. It is simply a choice for supporters who feel they wish to indicate to staff or fellow fans that they need additional support, help, or simply a little more time.
The free-of-charge lanyards can be collected from the ticket office, and if supporters can’t make it down to Deepdale you can call 0344 856 1966 or email email@example.com.
There is a form for supporters to fill out when arranging a lanyard, however this is completely optional.
PNE’s Disability Liaison Officer Lucy Stephenson said: “At the club, we’re committed to making an inclusive and welcoming environment for everyone attending our games.
“We are hoping the lanyards will raise awareness of hidden disabilities to our supporters and staff members at the club, by making the invisible visible.”
Goalkeeper Dai Cornell and his partner Shaunie have a vested interest in the campaign, with their daughter Delilah living with a hidden disability, and they shared their experiences in a sit-down interview.
Delilah will walk out with the teams in North End’s Sky Bet Championship clash against Queens Park Rangers on Friday night, in between a guard of honour made up of supporters who all live with hidden disabilities.
The PNE squad will also wear T-shirts during the warm-up dedicated to the campaign.
Dai said: “We’re delighted to see the club introduce the HD Sunflower lanyard. A partnership with an organisation which recognises disabilities that may not be immediately apparent is something we should take a lot of pride in.
“Society has a long way to go and we need to see more of it across football to educate staff and stewards to support fans and their communities.
“The Sunflower lanyard has had a huge impact for us when out and about, and when travelling. Just because you can’t see it, it doesn’t mean it’s not there.”
Approximately one in six people globally experience some form of disability, and those with hidden disabilities are part of the largest minority in the world.
The Sunflower was first trialled at Gatwick Airport in 2016 and has since become globally recognised, and the club are hoping it will soon be regularly seen around Deepdale.
Paul White, CEO of Hidden Disabilities Sunflower, said: “We are delighted to welcome Preston North End FC to the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower network.
“The club’s commitment to ensuring that staff and stewards are trained in hidden disabilities has been incredible.
“We are grateful to goalkeeper Dai Cornell for sharing the story of his daughter, Delilah’s experience of living with a disability that isn’t immediately apparent.
“Making non-visible disabilities relatable ensures that the discreet Sunflower symbol gets the recognition necessary to allow Sunflower wearers to feel confident to enjoy matchdays and beyond.”
Find out more about the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower by visiting their website.