This new partnership is just one of many actions AlburyCity are taking to improve the experience for customers, in alignment with community expectations.
Being out-and-about in our busy community can be stressful at times, especially if you have a non-visible disability that might not be immediately obvious. Although some disabilities are hidden, they can significantly impact how people experience the world.
Hidden disabilities may affect things such as a person's mobility, mental health, learning ability, speech, vision or hearing. They can also include respiratory and chronic conditions that significantly impact day to day life experiences.
People with a hidden disability, their loved ones or their carer's, can now pick up wearable products which feature the cheerful Hidden Disabilities Sunflower branding at Council Offices in Kiewa Street, and at the Airport's Cafe Uiver and Information Desk for free. Products include lanyards, badges and wrist bands.
The sunflower symbol is a discrete way to indicate a non-visible disability, and that there may be a need for some additional support.
Wearing the sunflower symbol is optional, keeping in mind that some people may experience symptoms differently from day-to-day.
In addition to Council's Customer Service Centre, AlburyCity employees working in public-facing roles at numerous locations will soon wear the 'I Support The Sunflower' badge or lanyard. This includes the Albury Airport, the LibraryMuseum in Albury, and Library in Lavington. The sunflower lets everyone know that employees have completed dedicated training, and understand the assistance someone wearing a sunflower might need.
AlburyCity Deputy Mayor Steve Bowen said he is proud to see the program being implemented.
"This is a really important step forward in making our city more inclusive, accessible and safer for everyone," said Councillor Bowen.
"Not only can we offer support to those experiencing a hidden disability, but we are increasing our people's awareness of what a disability can be, and how it can impact a person's day-to-day life.
"This is just one measure that we are introducing to improve the overall experience for customers, including the addition of an online chat feature on the AlburyCity website and there are more ideas in the pipeline," highlighted Cr Bowen.
Based on feedback from customers, changes to Councils' Customer Service Centre in Albury are also being considered, to ensure that the centre meets customer's needs and expectations now and into the future.
These changes may include better accessibility for those less mobile, more efficient customer service stations, self-serve terminals, low sensory areas for those with disability, areas for 'virtual' meetings to take place if required, accessible meeting rooms available for community groups to use, recycling facilities, an education area on Albury's indigenous heritage and history, and a more versatile Council Chambers that is available as a large meeting space.
The community are being encourage to 'Have Your Say' on what you value in a customer experience by sharing thoughts until Sunday 21 August on AlburyCity's website.