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Travelling with a sunflower lanyard

On Tuesday, I was due to attend a conference just outside of Manchester. Travelling on my own is extremely difficult for me but I have been through Manchester many times before and this was only a bit further. ⁠

But just as we were pulling into one train station, there was an announcement that my train had been cancelled so we needed to get off the train. ⁠

The only advice given was to go to the Metrolink (Tram). I have no idea how to use a tram and there was no other advice given. So, I was left in a crowd of around 200 people trying to work out what to do. ⁠

I tried to get help from staff at the train station, but this got me nowhere. They couldn’t help me understand about using the tram or what I needed to do.

Eventually I ended up being unable to speak and just stood there shaking but no support was offered. I was wearing my sunflower lanyard, but it was clear these staff had no idea what it meant.

At one point, I ended up having to go for a walk in the rain to find somewhere to get a drink, just to try and regulate myself. Being in the train station without any support just wasn’t helping.

In the end, I had to make the decision that I was too unwell to continue my journey to the conference and took this picture as I was waiting to come home. The anxiety of trying to continue with a now unplanned journey, turning up over 2 hours late to the conference and knowing I would spend the whole time thinking about having to get home was just too much. I took my own advice and listened to what my body needed which was to come home. ⁠

Just some basic access support would have made this experience so much better.

  • Rather than just saying ‘Go use the Metrolink’, and assuming we all knew what that meant, give guidance or explain where we could have got help from as I was not the only one confused,

  • Staff need training on what the sunflower lanyard means so that more appropriate support can be provided,

  • Alternative transport needs to be provided and more information on how to access this,

  • Better communication in general from all staff both on the train and in the station.


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