As chairman of The British Polio Fellowship, representing 120,000 people with living with Post Polio Syndrome (PPS) in Britain, I read with interest moves afoot at Co-Op stores in the Channel Islands to offer people with hidden disabilities more support while they shop.
A lanyard or flower badge indicating people need support is a step in the right direction. We can be embarrassed asking for help and moves to recognise this and offer practical help before we begin shopping makes a lot of sense. PPS is a debilitating neurological condition, often with no visible sign and while some use wheelchairs, those with no visible aids have to ‘prove’ our disability.
Many of our members have indicated dismay at the way at they are catered for in every walk of life, from shops and attractions, to airports, so it is nice to see this scheme being extended to Gurnsey airport. I hope such schemes give other retailers food for thought when helping people with disabilities. Support on the high street would incline us to spend money there – at a time when they could do with our help. Invisible disability makes it hard for people to accept there is a problem and schemes like this are possible solutions that deserve wider consideration. Anyone who needs our help can visit www.britishpolio.org.uk or call 0800 043 1935.
National Chairman, The British Polio Fellowship