Blogs DI Student Ambassadors

Sunflower Lanyards

Author: Kimberley Giles


You’ve probably seen when you’re out and about people using sunflower lanyards, but do you know what they are for and what they aim to represent?

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the use of the sunflower lanyard became increasingly more common but the scheme itself has been around for quite some time. The Hidden Disabilities Sunflower discreetly reflects that the individual wearing it has a hidden disability, providing a subtle indication to those around them that they may need more time, additional support, or some form of assistance. The scheme has been endorsed by several major supermarkets, public transport companies, the NHS, the police, and a growing number of other businesses and venues.

Those who live with invisible disabilities such as mental illness, learning difficulties, hearing or visual impairments, for example, can find day-to-day life difficult but may struggle to ask for help or adjustments. For some individuals, whilst they may not actively need any extra assistance, they may wish for people around them to simply be aware of the fact that they may need extra time or more personal space.

As someone who lives with a hidden disability, I can find it incredibly difficult when I’m out and about, especially if I’m on my own. In my personal situation, I don’t usually require any specific form of additional help and support, however, I do like to make others around me know that I may need more time, I may need to quickly make an exit, or I may just need more space. My hidden disability also means I am unable to wear a face covering and I use the Hidden Sunflower scheme to let those around me know I am medically exempt.

It’s important to note that wearing a sunflower lanyard, or any other face-covering exemption card, is a personal choice and is not required by law. But for me, it allows me to feel that little bit safer knowing that I am less likely to avoid confrontation from others that would only exacerbate my anxiety. Many others use the sunflower lanyard in this way too. Unfortunately, I still receive judgemental looks from some people, and I’ve heard several people comment to those they are with that they disapprove of me not wearing a face mask. I ask on behalf of us with a hidden disability that if you do see someone who is not wearing a face covering and is using the sunflower lanyard that you kindly withhold any negative judgment.

There are lots of ways you can pick up your own lanyard, including for free from the campus iPoints. Next time you’re in the supermarket, ask at customer services too as they often have them. You can also purchase lanyards, exemption cards, and several other sunflower products from


Call for participants

Call for Participants – Honours Project

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Hi there,

I am looking for participants to help me with my research into increasing the accessibility of the Edinburgh Napier Accommodation website and application process for individuals with dyslexia. Participants would be asked to participate in two tasks; the first is the Think-aloud protocol, where you will be asked to carry out several tasks on your computer while verbalising your thoughts and actions. The second task is a short interview questioning your experience with the first task. Through analysing the results from both tasks, I aim to deliver a working prototype of a redesigned Edinburgh Napier Accommodation website and application process which improves accessibility for people with dyslexia. Please get in touch with me at the email below if you would like to help out with my honours project.
Thanks, Jack Slater

Opportunities for Students

Invitation to Lead Scotland Student Focus Group

Lead Scotland is working with Advance HE to carry out some research into the different approaches and initiatives colleges and universities in Scotland are using to improve outcomes and experiences for disabled students. As part of the research, we are interviewing institutions as well as holding some student focus groups. Edinburgh Napier have taken part in the research to talk about the innovative approach they are developing to create a more inclusive learning experience and environment across the whole university. 

We would like to invite any disabled students studying at Edinburgh Napier University to attend an online focus group to talk about inclusive practice as well as the support they have received as a disabled student and how that has made a difference to them. If you would like to take part, please contact Rebecca Scarlett by emailing to get further information and to register your interest.

Lead Scotland is a small charity supporting disabled people to learn across Scotland. They run the only national disabled students’ helpline in Scotland and use the evidence they receive from the helpline to inform and influence policies affecting disabled learners. Advance HE supports the university and college sector to improve and enhance practice in relation to equality, diversity, and inclusion.”

Opportunities for Students

Masters Scholarships for Disabled Students – up to £30,000 available

Snowdon Master Scholarships banner. Reads ' Investing in inspirational disabled leaders. Funding up to £30,000 for UK Masters programmes. Global Disability Innovation Hub. The Snowdon Trust'

Snowdon Masters Scholarships 

Successful students will receive up to £15,000 towards their fees and a £15,000 allowance while studying. There are a number of scholarships available, and students can apply for any master’s course or university – applications are open for both National and International Students.



Find out more and apply: (Deadline: 6th April 2021)

DI Student Ambassadors

Meet your DI Student Ambassadors

Earlier this year we recruited our first cohort of Disability Inclusion Student Ambassadors and we would like to introduce them to you:

Emma Malins

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Hello, my name is Emma and I am really excited about being an Ambassador for Disability Inclusion. I am currently in my 4th year on the BA film course. I am interested in all things film and media. I am really focused on issues involving disability representation within film and television. I believe strongly that positive disability representation in all forms of life is crucial to creating a better understanding of the true disabled experience. Empowering disabled voices through film and media is a powerful tool to achieve this! Within this ambassador role, I am really excited about having a strong platform to raise the presence of issues surrounding disability and inclusion within the university. I cannot wait to get started and I am really looking forward to getting stuck into the role.

Kimberley Giles

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I am Kimberley, a third-year student in the Social Sciences degree programme. I am really looking forward to working as a DI Student Ambassador! I am particularly interested in raising awareness for students living with a mental illness and have been fortunate to previously have worked on various projects with Mind, Cosmopolitan, and the BBC. I applied to become a DI Ambassador as I want to help prospective and current students to realise that having a mental illness or a disability does not have to prevent you from having an enjoyable and successful university experience. My own personal experiences with mental illness mean that I understand some of the difficulties students may have when attending university. I hope to use these experiences to share the voices of students who are also living with a mental health condition.

Asnat Marealle

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I am a third-year student at the Business School in the Flexi managed route, I love listening to music in my spare time and visual arts in all its forms. I bring to the team strong project management skills and research skills gained from my course, in addition to social media skills gained from running societies’ accounts, customer service, and administration from previous employment. I am mostly looking forward to learning more about the different disabilities that can be found at Napier and the challenges that students face. I would like to bridge the gap between students and staff to raise awareness and improve the lives of disabled students at university, thus building a positive and welcoming environment at Napier for everyone. In addition, I hope, with fellow DI ambassadors, to create a foundation for the role for future ambassadors.

David Richards

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Hello, I am David Richards! I am a 1st year in Digital Media and Interaction Design. I am good at making people feel included and just enjoy talking to people, especially in a role like this. What I am looking forward to most in this position is working in a team and collaborating on different projects and opportunities that I wouldn’t have access to otherwise.

Brontë Waddoups

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My name is Brontë Waddoups and I am a disability inclusion student ambassador. Disability inclusion is something that is personal to me. In my film course, I have worked on making sure every film I work on has subtitles so that I can share them with my deaf aunt and uncle. I am trying to lead by example to encourage others on my course to do the same. I want to encourage people in every course to understand how they can incorporate inclusion in their work and empower the members of our university community to who these efforts will benefit. As a film student, I have experience with editing and sound design. I am very interested in social media and I want to create content that is a tool for the promotion and discussion of important topics. I really hope that my skills can be used by the disability inclusion team.

If you are interested in any of the work of the Student Ambassadors or have any questions for them please send them to Heather Armstrong, Disabled Student Engagement Worker, at