Hovertravel is the first cross-Solent ferry operator to recognise the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower
Hovertravel has announced that it will officially recognise the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower. Customers can choose to wear a Sunflower lanyard as an indication that they may require additional support, assistance or simply a little more time while travelling. This announcement further enhances Hovertravel’s award-winning accessibility initiative; HoverCare.
Neil Chapman, managing director of Hovertravel explains: “Our commitment to accessibility has been certified by the government and our HoverCare imitative has been commended by regional and national award schemes. By partnering with the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower we are continuing on our journey to make hovercraft travel accessible to all and we want to become the cross-Solent ferry of choice for customers with visible and invisible disabilities.”
Hovertravel’s teams have added Hidden Disabilities Sunflower bespoke video training on the company’s intranet so employees have already gained a better understanding of what an invisible disability is and how to become more confident to approach and support customers wearing a Sunflower lanyard.
Paul White, CEO of Hidden Disabilities Sunflower added: “We are impressed at the depth and scope of Hovertravel’s commitment to accessibility and feel that the Sunflower perfectly aligns to the highly commended HoverCare initiative. Sunflower wearers with non-visible disabilities will travel with confidence in the knowledge they will be met with kindness, patience and understanding by Hovertravel crew on their journey across the Solent.”
In 2020 Hovertravel was awarded ‘Leader’ level in the Government’s Inclusive Transport Leaders Scheme. The Leader level is the top level of accreditation in the scheme, with Hovertravel being one of two companies recognised at this level, alongside Brighton & Hove Buses. Hovertravel is the only marine transport operator and only ferry operator to be accredited in the scheme. Having launched HoverCare in 2016, the Isle of Wight ferry company has developed the initiative from a series of comprehensive internal training procedures into a company-wide approach which regularly shares best practice with other businesses.
The Hidden Disabilities Sunflower exists to support those with non-visible disabilities such as autism, chronic pain, dementia, sight or hearing loss. Wearing the Sunflower lanyard enables individuals to discreetly indicate that they have an invisible disability and may need additional assistance, kindness, or simply a little more time.
Since the Sunflower was established in the UK in 2016, it has been adopted globally by organisations to support both their colleagues and customers. The Sunflower is recognised across a broad range of sectors – ranging from retail, financial services, transport including over 130 airports, travel and tourism as well as over 450 universities, schools and colleges, all of the UK railway network, theme parks, supermarkets, leisure facilities, healthcare, financial services, emergency services, theatres and over 350 charities. The Sunflower has been launched locally in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the UK and the USA.
Our goal is to continue to raise awareness of the Sunflower so that those choosing to wear it can travel and plan their days out safe in the knowledge that they will be recognised and supported.