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A canopy of brightly coloured umbrellas has appeared at Heathrow, but it has nothing to do with the torrential rain falling across large parts of the UK this week. 

The umbrellas are actually 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 a number of passenger focused initiatives at the UK gateway.

These have included 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.” 

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