Gatwick Airport’s hidden disability lanyard recognised for its support for passengers with Dementia

  • Gatwick committed to becoming an internationally recognised dementia friendly airport
  • Airport praised for forward-thinking approach of lanyard
  • Every member of Gatwick’s Assistance Team has received Dementia Friends training

LONDON, 2016-Dec-06 — /Travel PR News/ — The successful rollout of a hidden disability lanyard at Gatwick Airport has been recognised for its forward-thinking approach towards supporting passengers with Dementia.

Gatwick and OCS, the airport’s special assistance provider, were jointly presented with the Dementia Innovation Award at an awards ceremony hosted by the Alzheimer’s Society and attended by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

The award recognises ‘forward thinking in developing a piece of research, new product, project or service to support people affected by dementia.’

In May, Gatwick and OCS teamed up to launch a first of its kind hidden disability lanyard to increase the airport’s level of support for passengers with dementia and other hidden disabilities.

Since its introduction, over 3,000 passengers have requested a lanyard when travelling through the airport. The lanyard provides staff with a discreet signal that passengers, their families or carers may require additional assistance when travelling through the airport. It is entirely voluntary and can be collected free of charge from any of Gatwick’s assistance desks.

The launch of the lanyard coincided with a range of innovative, airport-wide measures aimed at establishing Gatwick as an internationally recognised dementia friendly airport in order to enhance the assistance provided to passengers with dementia. This included;

  • 50 airport employees from a wide range of teams being trained as ‘Dementia Friends Champions
  • multiple Dementia Friends information sessions for existing employees
  • Dementia Friends information sessions becoming part of standard induction training for new employees.

As a result, every member of Gatwick’s Assistance Team has received Dementia Friends training.

Gatwick’s Head of Terminals and Passenger Services Nikki Barton said:

“We are honoured to receive this award which recognises the passionate commitment of our staff towards providing passengers with hidden disabilities like dementia the very best customer service and support when travelling through the airport.   

“By teaming up with the Alzheimer’s Society and OCS we’ve made huge strides in understanding the challenges passengers with dementia may encounter and how we can better support them, their family and carers.

“I’m incredibly proud of our frontline staff for the way they have embraced initiatives like the hidden disability lanyard so we can continue to provide all our passengers with the assistance and understanding they deserve.”

Alzheimer’s Society’s Chief Executive, Jeremy Hughes, said:

“Dementia is the biggest health and social care issue facing our society and there’s no question that it has a profound and devastating impact for many – but the actions of Gatwick and the OCS Group and others like them are helping to raise better awareness, break down stigma and make our communities more dementia-friendly.

“What makes our winners so remarkable is the way they use their imagination, energy and enthusiasm to inspire others. Gatwick and the OCS Group have gone that extra mile to make a bigger difference in their community for people with dementia and they will inspire others to follow their example in all walks of life.”

The ceremony was attended by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who paid tribute to the winners:

“The Dementia Friendly Communities programme has led to inspiring action, raising awareness of this condition and supporting people to live well. Dementia is a priority for this Government and I am inspired by the work of the individuals here today who are leading the way in making their own communities dementia friendly.”

Event host Angela Rippon outlined why Gatwick and OCS Group caught the eye of the judges, stating:

‘Within OCS and Gatwick all frontline staff are Dementia Friends, and OCS have introduced NVQ Level 2 Dementia Care training for the assistance team. They have introduced airport-wide measures to improve dementia-friendliness, and developed a lanyard to support the needs of passengers with hidden disabilities. This allows passengers more time at check-in and security, ensures they remain with a family member or guardian, and receive assistance with directions and steps throughout the airport.


SOURCE: Gatwick Airport Limited

Notes to editors:

The Dementia Friendly Awards are part of the Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Friendly Communities initiative, which aims to ensure people affected by dementia feel understood and included in all aspects of community life.

About Gatwick Airport
Gatwick Airport is the UK’s second largest airport and the most efficient single-runway airport in the world. It serves more than 220 destinations in 80 countries for 42 million passengers a year on short and long-haul point-to-point services. It is also a major economic driver for the South East region, generating around 21,000 on-airport jobs and a further 10,000 jobs through related activities. The airport is south of Central London with excellent public transport links, including the Gatwick Express, and is part of the Oyster contactless payment network. Gatwick Airport is owned by a group of international investment funds, of which Global Infrastructure Partners is the largest shareholder.

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