Chief Assignment EditorJune 13, 2019
A canopy of brightly coloured umbrellas has appeared at Heathrow as part of an initiative to raise awareness of neuro-developmental disorders, including Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), autism, Dyslexia, Dyscalculia and Dyspraxia.
Devised by ADHD Foundation, the hugely popular ‘Umbrella Project’ has launched at arrivals in Heathrow’s Terminal 5 the first time this artwork has been available to view in London or at an airport. Celebrating the gifts, talents and employability of those with neuro-developmental disorders, the project name stems from the use of ADHD and autism as ‘umbrella terms’ for many neurological conditions and reframes them for children as unique ‘Super Powers’. The installation forms part of a wider education programme with participating local schools including Heathrow Primary, William Byrd and Harmondsworth Primary to raise awareness about ADHD and autism.
Heathrow is committed to ensuring that all 80 million passengers travelling through the airport each year are able to do so in the way they choose. In 2017, the Heathrow Access Advisory Group (HAAG) was set up to provide a passenger perspective on accessibility and inclusion; meet regularly to provide independent and constructive advice; and address challenges.
The installation, in place until October, follows the introduction of initiatives including sunflower lanyards that allow passengers needing tailored help and support to discreetly identify themselves to Heathrow staff; investments in training, equipment and signage to improve the airport’s accessibility; fully accessible assistance videos showing the support available; and the installation of a sensory room in Terminal 3, alongside a plan to deliver dedicated quiet areas across the airport.
The ‘Umbrella Project’ will also re-appear on Church Alley in Liverpool where it became the ‘most Instagrammed street’ in the world during its debut summer and at BBC North in MediaCityUK, Salford Quays.
Liz Hegarty, Director of Customer Relations and Service at Heathrow said: “We’re delighted to welcome the Umbrella Project to Heathrow, raising much needed awareness of hidden disabilities and providing a fantastic, thought-provoking visual experience for all our passengers this summer. We recognise that travelling can be a challenging experience for many people and are continually improving our Assistance service, ensuring every single passenger feels at ease when they begin their journey with us.”
Dr Tony Lloyd, chief executive of ADHD Foundation, said: “It is a joy to work in partnership with Heathrow to promote neurodiversity and celebrate the intelligence, ability and employability of neurodiverse people. What a fantastic display and message to greet the millions of passengers that come through Terminal 5.”
Nusrat Ghani, Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Transport said: “The Government is committed to providing equal access on our transport network and continues to work with the aviation industry to ensure flying is accessible to everyone.?
“Heathrow’s partnership with the ADHD Foundation celebrates diversity and sends a welcome message to people with hidden disabilities, promoting the support available to help improve their journeys and get on with their lives.”