Steeple Chuch Dundee


faith in community dundee

Stigma Working Group
Stigma Working Group

Here are some of the actions we’re planning to take:


 We’re working together to create new messages/slogans for fairness in Dundee and will engage in a high profile billboard campaign to raise awareness of these new messages and the commitment of city agencies.


We’re also planning to work with editors from local newspapers to explore better ways to cover stories about poverty.


We met with front-line staff of several advice agencies to find out if they have seen stigma around people struggling with money. This was an extremely helpful session; we’re now working with Commissioners from the People and Money Group to look at the recruitment of front-line staff and how they are trained/supported. This is to ensure organisations are doing all they can to make sure the right people are getting these jobs and those that are currently in these roles are getting the training and support they need.




According to the Webster’s New World Dictionary, the short definition of stigma is, “a mark of disgrace or reproach.” Kristalyn Salters-Pedneault, Ph.D. offers this definition of stigma, “Stigma is a perceived negative attribute that causes someone to devalue or think less of the whole person.” Given these two representations for the meaning of stigma, anyone can see that stigma, of any kind, is a deeply negative mind-set and provides no value to society in general. (

How do we challenge stigma in our city? How do we change perceptions and improve understanding? The Stigma Working Group have been asking those questions and seeking to work together to find answers that will bring about change.

Here are some of the issues we’ve identified over the last few months:


  • The local press often carries negative stories about people in poverty.


  • Some people have a negative attitude towards people on a low income, creating further stigma.


  • People are being treated badly or stigmatised by services and frontline staff. We’ve heard stories of people who are in distress often feeling that they are treated with disrespect when dealing with service providers.


  • People in poverty or recovery are not being understood or supported.


“Trust and respect, that’s what unlocks doors for people” – Community Commissioner speaking about front line staff workers during Stigma Group



“The cafes are places of hope and community to those struggling with stigma because people there just accept you. It’s total opposite at DWP.” - Community Commissioner speaking out in the Stigma Working Group