Customers from some of our learning disability schemes in Essex came together recently to enjoy tea and cake to celebrate Dignity Action Day.

Dignity Action Day is an annual event to raise awareness of the importance of dignity in care. It gives health and social care workers, as well as members of the public, the opportunity to acknowledge and uphold people’s rights to dignity.

Staff from our supported living schemes* around Colchester wanted to help customers organise an event which would get people together and get them talking about dignity: what it means to them and how we promote dignity in our services.

Steven, who lives in Colchester, wanted to host the event; he loves a party and couldn’t wait for all his friends to get together and have some fun. So, along with support from staff members Karen Magill and Sarah Kane, Steven decorated his home with balloons and laid out biscuits and cakes for everyone to enjoy.

Lady celebrating Dignity Day

All in all ten customers came along to enjoy a drink, a piece of cake and a good chat with old friends. After catching up, everyone took some time to think about the reason for the event: dignity.

Staff and customers thought about what it meant to them and how important it is for customers to be able to have their say about the things they like, how they want to be treated and how they would like to be supported. After talking it over, everyone wrote a message about dignity on a leaf and hung it on the Dignity Tree, made especially for the event. Everyone then read a poem and copies were made for people to take away with them.

The Dignity Tree

I’m planting my first seed today

The seed of dignity,

In time you’ll see my seed will grow

And grow into a tree.


A tree fulfilled with knowledge,

A plant for all to see,

What being a dignity champion

Really means to me.


It’s a leaf with an idea on,

It’s an idea I’d like to share,

It’s an inspirational idea,

It’s a leaf to show I care.


The tree will always be there

Long after I have gone,

To stand up for dignity in care,

A challenge to be won.

I know you will support me

And I know you’ll love the tree

It’s not just a tree you know

It’s what dignity means to me

After the poem, another customer, Judy, asked if she could sing. Others also had go at singing and took a turn to entertain the group.

Clare Heath, Team Manager for Peabody said: “It was lovely to meet some new customers and put faces to names, but also have the time to say hello and have a chat with everyone about Dignity in Action. Everyone enjoyed themselves, it was such a good idea and a great get-together!”

Steven also had a great time hosting: “It was really good and I can’t wait to do it again!”

Staff and customers all agreed that it was a really lovely morning and a great opportunity to show the importance of dignity and the important role everyone has to play in upholding Dignity in Care.

* Supported living schemes are small, individual properties for people with learning disabilities, some of whom may also require additional care. These homes are generally shared by two to four customers and have staff onsite every day.