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Diversity and Inclusion | 01 Oct 2020

Vodafone signs up to Hidden Disabilities Sunflower scheme

Vodafone UK has signed up to the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower scheme supporting people with disabilities that may not be so obvious to the casual observer.

Many people with a disability use or carry something – whether that’s a wheelchair, guide dog, hearing aid or white cane – that visibly indicates what the disability might be.

But other disabilities, such as autism, dementia, mental health issues or learning difficulties, are not so obvious.

Under the Hidden Disability Sunflower scheme, people with such disabilities can choose to wear a lanyard bearing a sunflower logo as a subtle way of letting others know that they may require additional support, assistance or time.

All Vodafone UK retail store staff have now received training on how to interact appropriately with customers who have hidden disabilities.

“We are thrilled that Vodafone has joined the Sunflower Scheme to recognise its colleagues and customers who have a hidden disability,” said chief executive Paul White.

“By recognising the sunflower and its meaning to the wearer, colleagues and customers will receive a greater sense of wellbeing and understanding while working in or visiting your stores.”

Vodafone employees have been trained to offer help by:

  • taking more time at the till;
  • speaking face-to-face to allow for lip-reading;
  • using clear and easy-to-understand language;
  • helping with hard-to-reach products;
  • making others aware a person may be struggling or having behavioural issues.

There are more than 3.7 million disabled people who work in the UK, and Vodafone employs around 1,200 people with disabilities.

Vodafone encourages new recruits to join VodABILITY – the company’s Employee Network – which supports the understanding of disabilities. The network provides support for, and raises awareness of, all types of disability, whether physical, mental, visible or non-visible.

Shelley Malton, Customer Services and Operations Director, Vodafone UK, and Executive Sponsor of our VodABILITY Network, said:  “I am delighted that Vodafone UK has signed up to the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower scheme to support people with hidden disabilities.

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