Tesco adopts sunflower lanyard to help customers with hidden disabilities


South Devon Tesco stores will be providing sunflower lanyards to promote disability inclusion for customers and colleagues in 2020. This comes after the supermarket chain become a signatory to the Valuable 500 group of companies and pledged to create another 27 Changing Places toilets next year.

The sunflower lanyard acts as a discreet sign that the wearer has a hidden disability and could require additional assistance. Tesco colleagues will be able to offer help such as speaking face to face to allow lip-reading, packing bags and taking them to the customers’ cars, or reading labels for partially-sighted customers. Every store will display a permanent sign which says that the sunflower lanyard is recognised there.

The supermarket has committed to making its stores a more accessible place for colleagues and customers and ensuring that disability is a key consideration in all relevant business decisions.

Tesco has also announced that it will increase the number of Changing Places toilets in its stores from 49 to 75 in 2020 making it the retailer with the most facilities in the UK. These are spaces designed for people with disabilities that mean they need extra equipment and space to allow them to use the toilets safely and comfortably. The toilets are larger and have specialist equipment such as hoists, privacy screen and a height adjustable adult-sized changing bench.

Alessandra Bellini, Tesco Chief Customer Officer, said: “We work hard to ensure that everyone feels welcome at Tesco and want our stores to be as accessible as possible. It’s clear how important Changing Places and sunflower lanyards are to our customers who need them and we’ll continue to explore ways we can do more for customers with disabilities.”

For the first time this year, Tesco’s Christmas television advert is being audio-described for blind and partially sighted people, and in October, the supermarket trialled a ‘quiet hour’ as part of the National Autistic Society’s Autism Hour, where stores dimmed the lights and lower noise levels to create a calmer atmosphere for autistic customers. In 2018, Tesco became the first UK supermarket to launch larger nappies specifically designed for children with disabilities.

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