Dignity in Practice

The Dignity in Practice project involves people who design, deliver and take part in responses to food insecurity in reflective workshops and peer support activities aimed at promoting dignity and human rights. Since 2016, we have been working alongside community food practitioners and wider stakeholders, supporting steps to further embed the Dignity Principles in Practice.

In 2020, the project moved online and turned its focus to supporting people to adapt their services to COVID-19 restrictions while maintaining an emphasis on the Dignity Principles. With support from the Dignity Advisory Team – a group of people with experience of food insecurity and organisations delivering community food responses – we have hosted a series of workshops exploring the Dignity Principles in Practice and their relationship to the Right to Food. In late 2021, we launched the Dignity in Practice Learning Event Series to invite stakeholders across Scotland to reflect on the relationship between dignity, the right to food and the wider food system.

This project is delivered in partnership with the Poverty Truth Community.

Learning Event Series 2021-2022

The Dignity in Practice Learning Event Series for people involved in responding to food insecurity in Scotland, and for people who are working to promote rights-based approaches took place in winter 2021/2022 .  Check out the Learning Events’ resource hub.

COVID-19 Resources

Click on the button above to find guidance, blogs and activities for community food initiatives on how we can continue to enhance dignity during the Coronavirus crisis.

Dignity in Practice Resources

Click on the button above to access activity toolkits and project reports.

The Dignity Principles

Between November 2016 and October 2017, Nourish Scotland and the Poverty Truth Community worked closely with people with lived experience of food insecurity, staff and volunteers involved in community food initiatives and wider stakeholders to explore what dignity means in practice.

The ‘Dignity Principles in Practice’ were developed to provide a way for community food providers to reflect on the design and delivery of their work and engage with the Dignity Principles from the perspective of someone experiencing food insecurity.

A sense of control
Having power to make choices about what, where, when, how and with whom you eat.
✚  Able to take part in community life
Feeling able and welcome to take part in different aspects of community life, regardless of your financial situation.
✚  Nourished and supported
Being able to enjoy food and access support that meets your needs.
✚  Involved in decision-making
Feeling able to share your views and ideas and to have those views taken seriously in decision-making.
✚  Valued and able to contribute
Feeling recognised and valued as a whole person with knowledge, skills and experiences to share.

To see a visual representation of how the Dignity Principles in Practice are applied in a variety of community food settings across Scotland watch this video created in partnership with Raw Film Productions in 2019. The community food initiatives who feature in the films are Central & West Integration Network (Glasgow), Maxwell Centre (Dundee), St Paul’s Youth Forum (Glasgow), Moray Food Plus (Elgin) and Woodlands Community Cafe (Glasgow).

Project Background

Communities cannot be held responsible for, or bear the disproportionate burden of, food insecurity in Scotland, but, with appropriate support, the community food sector is well placed to respond to current crises and promote and restore dignity at a local level. We believe that ending household food insecurity and becoming a Good Food Nation requires all of us to work together. We will need both national action to secure decent incomes and the strategic and coordinated development of community food infrastructure to deliver on health and social inclusion.

In 2015 Scottish Ministers appointed an Independent Working Group on Food Poverty tasked to consider the issues related to food poverty and make recommendations to the Scottish Government on future actions. In their 2016 report, Dignity: Ending Hunger Together in Scotland, the Working Group identified the following four Dignity Principles to guide the design and implementation of dignified responses to food insecurity:

  1. Involve in decision-making people with direct experience.
  2. Recognise the social value of food.
  3. Provide opportunities to contribute.
  4. Leave people with the power to choose.

The Scottish Government’s acceptance of the recommendations in the report, and commitment to place ‘dignity’ at the centre of the design and delivery of responses to food insecurity (instead of, for example, ‘feeding people in need’) created a welcome opportunity for all those involved in the response to reflect on supporting people beyond charitable, emergency provision.

The Dignity Project aims to explore and understand better the practical ways that community organisations and practitioners could bring the Dignity Principles into practice. The project works alongside community food groups and organisations to explore the detail of what promoting and enhancing dignity looks like in community food provision. The peer support programme encourages practice change that recognises the important role of community initiatives as sources of support to people experiencing food insecurity, as well as inclusive spaces for people to access, share and enjoy food, regardless of their circumstances.

If you would like to be involved or be kept in the loop, fill in the contact form here.

This project is delivered in partnership with the Poverty Truth Community and funded by the Scottish Government’s Fair Food Transformation Fund.


If you would like to be involved or have any questions please contact email dignity@nourishscotland.org.uk

More info about our work

This project is part of our wider work on a right-based approach to food. See also the Our Right to Food project, the Right to Food campaign and the A Menu for Change project.

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