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Workers from across the city have pledged to become dignity champions to mark a national awareness day today (1 Feb).
Dignity Action Day, organised by the Dignity in Care network, is designed to highlight the little things everyone can do to preserve another person’s dignity.
Mayor of Bristol George Ferguson and Councillor Brenda Massey have signed up as champions, along with staff working across many different council departments ranging from parking and transport to health and social care, museums, parks and libraries. And they’re all encouraging others to follow suite.
George Ferguson, Mayor of Bristol, said: “I know from personal experience how much each and every one of us can play our part in giving dignity to others, particularly for older, disabled or vulnerable adults. This applies to many different situations in everyday life and can be anything from pausing to talk to an elderly neighbour through to respecting someone’s right to privacy.
“Bristol is a good city to grow old in, for most, but there’s always more we can do. We need to ensure people are included in the life of the city and that their opinions are valued. We all face a potential future of old age and vulnerability, so it’s very much a case of treating people as you’d like to be treated – with respect and dignity.”
Part of the awareness day involves a 10 point plan which identifies easy ways to promote dignity including enabling people to be independent, listening to others, engaging with people and promoting confidence and self-esteem.
Councillor Brenda Massey, Assistant Mayor for People with responsibility for adult social care, said: “Dignity doesn’t just apply to people living in care homes – it’s about people being able to continue living well in their communities. Having a dedicated Dignity Day is a positive thing, but we should be thinking about this every day of the year. We need everyone in Bristol to be a dignity champion - what will you do to help today?”
Across the city council staff are getting involved in different ways – a range of activities are taking place at Bristol Community Links facilities. In the south the centre is hosting a spa morning for clients focusing on mindfulness and massage to build confidence in those who use the service, followed by an afternoon tea dance with staff. One of the council’s care homes, Redfield lodge, is hosting a discussion about dignity to encourage dialogue about the issue, building awareness about the issue.
To ensure everyone can make the most of living in the city, a new Bristol Access Guide for disabled people has also just been launched. It’s a partnership between Disabled Go, Bristol City Council and Destination Bristol and is aimed at making the city more accessible for residents and visitors, maximising independence and choice for disabled people in Bristol.
Mike Hennessey, director for adult social care, added: “Staff working in health and social care are at the frontline and will encounter many different situations. Each day they help people retain their dignity. For all of us, there are many ways in which you can support another’s dignity and one small extra thing every day is a great start. The bottom line is that everyone has the right to lead a dignified life – and we are committed to doing everything we can to preserve that right.”
For more information about how you can become a dignity champion, please visit: http://www.dignityincare.org.uk/Dignity-Champions/
For more information about the Disabled Go guide visit http://www.disabledgo.com/organisations/bristol-city-council/main