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Step 4

Observing dignity in practice

Suggested timing: 1-3 hours


This exercise encourages staff, volunteers and those taking part in delivering a project or service to take time to observe and reflect on what takes place on a normal, busy day. This activity can be adapted for other types of settings, for example, employability, the NHS, education, finance services, etc.


For those involved in the design and delivery of a project to understand more about the many small and large decisions that affect people’s sense of dignity.


Pen, notepad or click here to access a note-taking template.


Step 1:

Observe what’s happening at the project on a busy day – as if you’re visiting for the first time.

Option: You may want to sit and just watch for a while or make a note of the way the room feels (e.g. Is it too hot? Too cold? Are people speaking to each other respectfully and in a friendly way? Is it clear to a new person where to go when they arrive for the first time? Is someone meeting them at the door?).

Tip: Try to speak to people as well, to get a sense of their feelings about the place. If possible, speak to at least one staff member, volunteer and community member present. After the observation, try answering the questions on the following pages.

Step 2:

Based on these reflections, consider – individually or as a group – what steps could be taken to change or improve practice to promote and restore the dignity 
of someone experiencing food insecurity.

Make sure to arrange a time to discuss what you learned about the project with people who can respond to any issues you identified (for example the staff or manager). This exercise can be a useful starting point for reflecting together and identifying what more can be done to put dignity front and centre in your project.