In an effort to become the UK’s most inclusive retailers, supermarket chain Sainsbury’s is trialling a sunflower lanyard system for people with hidden disabilities. The system gives people with hidden disabilities the option to collect a lanyard, which when worn alerts store staff that additional assistance needs to be provided.

The initiative was first launched successfully in the chains Barnstaple store and will be rolled out to nine other Sainsbury’s stores in the coming month. Intended for people suffering from disabilities, such as dementia, autism or visual and hearing impairments, the lanyards will make staff aware that extra support such as opening a new lane or assisting in finding products is needed.

Sainsbury’s is the first supermarket to begin trailing the system after a successful launch at Gatwick Airport. The airport has so far seen more than 10,000 lanyards collected. The supermarket hopes to see more retailer adopt the sunflower lanyard system.

“We want to be the most inclusive retailer and we understand that a busy supermarket environment can present challenges for some of our customers. As the first retailer to offer this service, this initiative is just one example of the steps we are taking to give our customers the best possible experience when shopping. We are working with our colleagues to ensure that they are fully equipped to provide assistance to those who need it and we encourage feedback from local communities where we are trialling the initiative,” said Tim Fallowfield, company secretary and corporate services director for Sainsbury’s.