Pat Jago: my experiences as a dignity champion

I run a Community Centre for anyone who would like to be involved and most of the people who use it are elderly. So I find the most important ideas come from them. When I started I asked what they most liked to do and the biggest idea was play whist. I was no expert so I told them they would have to teach me and the dear lady who took me on was good - even now she is in my head when I do something wrong just shows how strict she was.

We all work together to keep the place running and we have get togethers with cream teas for the Cancer and the McMillan nurses because nearly all of them have had brushes with that particular disease. We also have pasty lunches to support the centre and every year a local pub gives us lunch at a cut price which is always well attended. Anyone who needs a lift anywhere only has to ask and there is always someone available to pick them up.

We make sure there is always a friendly ear if someone needs to talk and their problems do not come to them when they are alone. To me the most important thing is time and patience - never be too hurried to walk away without making sure the person you are leaving is comfortable.