Sunflower lanyards

Face covering exempt

Under Covid-19 guidance from the UK government some people are exempt from wearing face coverings.

In order to support our staff and students, the University of Plymouth has joined the Hidden Disabilities scheme and sunflower lanyards will be available for all staff and students (including UPSU, UCSP and UPP staff). The lanyards will enable those exempt from face coverings to be able to identify themselves in a discreet way if they wish. Sunflower lanyards are accepted at supermarkets and other public settings as proof of face covering exemption

This page explains who can request a free sunflower lanyard and where to get one on campus. 

How do I get a sunflower lanyard?

Sunflower lanyards are available for collection by staff, students and contractors from:

  • Charles Seale-Hayne Library (Reception)
  • Student Village Receptions (for University of Plymouth managed halls)
  • The Design and Print Centre (DPC), Kirkby Terrace

  • Go to one of the collection points during opening hours and ask for a sunflower lanyard. You will need to show your student or staff ID card but no record is kept of your request.

    If you wish to collect a lanyard privately, then email and UPSU will arrange a private collection time for you.

    What is a sunflower lanyard?

    The sunflower lanyard is a nationwide scheme for people with hidden disabilities. Hidden disabilities don't have physical signs and include learning difficulties, mental health as well as mobility, speech, visual or hearing impairments. They can also include asthma, COPD, and other lung conditions as well as chronic illnesses such as renal failure, diabetes, and sleep disorders when those diseases significantly impact day-to-day life. Sunflower lanyards may also be suitable for people who could experience secondary trauma or severe distress by wearing a face covering. 

    As this is a national scheme, sunflower lanyards collected from the University of Plymouth will be valid in other settings which are part of the scheme (most supermarkets, airports etc.) and vice versa. 

    Who is exempt from face coverings?

    In line with government advice, where face coverings are required in England there are some circumstances where people may not be able to wear a face covering. These exemptions include:

    • ‘people who cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability’ and;
    • ‘where putting on, wearing or removing a face covering will cause you severe distress’ (including secondary trauma if you have been the victim of sexual violence).

    Any students or a member of staff (including UPSU, UCSP and UPP staff) who fall within government exemptions from wearing a face covering will be able to collect a sunflower lanyard free of charge.

    Why should I wear a sunflower lanyard?

    It is your personal choice whether to wear a sunflower lanyard or not and it is not mandatory to wear one if you are exempt from wearing a face covering but if you do wear one, you are discreetly signalling to others that you are exempt from face coverings. University staff have been made aware of the sunflower lanyard scheme and have been provided with training.

    Regardless of the presence of a sunflower lanyard, no member of the University community should experience abuse, harm or hate and you can report such behaviours confidentially via the University’s Speak Up tool.

    Where can I get more information?

    All staff at collection points are required to complete Hidden Disabilities training available on the Semester 1+ SharePoint site. All other colleagues are encouraged to complete the training. Staff, students and contractors can contact the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion team on for further information.

    Sunflower lanyards are available to anyone with a genuine reason, as outlined in government advice, for not wearing a face covering. We expect all staff and students to follow Covid-19 advice and guidelines as outlined in the Covid-19 student conduct addendum and the staff Covid-19 special measure guidance.  Failure to follow advice and guidelines could result in disciplinary action for students and/or staff. This includes the misuse of the sunflower lanyard scheme.