Connections and Relationships – helping communities thrive

November 27, 2023, 9:30 am

Connections and relationships are the foundation of thriving communities. They promote social cohesion, resilience, co-operation and well-being among their members, ultimately leading to a more vibrant and prosperous community life.

Attending this event will give you the opportunity to hear from speakers highly regarded in their field, contribute to the Big Questions World Café and hear about some of the amazing work that is already taking place in our communities.

Conference Aims

  • Hear about what’s happening in Scotland on attachment within communities
  • Understand why attachment matters for families and communities
  • Help us to develop thriving, more equitable communities with attachment as a lever for change
  • An opportunity to connect and share good practice



This event will be of interest to practitioners, policy makers,  passionate community advocates and researchers and those with an interest in the impact of attachment relationships.

  9.30am Registration, Coffee and Connections
10.20am Welcome

Alison MacDonald, Chair, Scottish Attachment in Action

10.30am Keynote speaker

Sir Harry Burns, Professor of Global Public Health at University of Strathclyde

What’s the best way to help communities thrive?

Conventional medical thinking has led us to believe it’s the bad choices we make that causes our poor health. However, for many people, it’s their inability to make good decisions for themselves that is the problem.

Modern science shows that the circumstances into which we are born and grow up determines our ability to feel good about ourselves. Children who grow up feeling secure and loved are much more likely to have a positive view of themselves and to see the importance of having a positive lifestyle which enhances their wellbeing. The children who live in circumstances which see them experience domestic problems such as violence, drugs and alcohol or parental mental health problems find it difficult to make positive decisions about themselves. If Scotland is to improve its health, narrow inequality across the population and allow all our children to achieve their full potential in life, building secure connections and relationships in families must be a priority.

11.10am Keynote speaker

Professor Helen Minnis, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the University of Glasgow

Thriving through community and connections

Attachment relationships are the key way in which we learn to manage our stress responses through life – but some of us struggle to achieve these relationships more than others. Children who have experienced abuse and neglect, and children who have neurodevelopmental conditions like ADHD and Autism, often struggle more than others to use the support of parents, extended families and communities. This also means that some children are harder to parent than others. Through understanding the different ways in which children can struggle to get the best from relationships we might be able to offer better support to parents to, in turn, support their children’s development. We are “pack animals” and, as we grow up, it is our parents, our extended families, and our communities that support us to thrive.

11.40am Tea/Coffee/Making connections
12.00am World Café session
 1.15pm Lunch and Connections
 2.00pm Walking the talk of attachment

This session provides an opportunity to hear from  a number of speakers with voices of experience and the great work already taking place in our communities along with two recent pieces of research recently undertaken by Glasgow University interns for Scottish Attachment in Action.

Moira Greentree, Executive Director of The Why Not Trust – The Village – A supportive social network, of safe trusted people, makes becoming a parent much easier.  Recognising not everyone has supportive relationships readily available the Village was developed to provide a digital, accessible, welcoming, community.  From the proverb, it takes a Village to raise a child, we created The Village, which is now part of The Why Not Trust.  Co-designed with voices of experience, learning from experience and research, and in collaboration with Early Years Scotland and Scottish Attachment in Action. The Village is now aiming to reach all expectant and new parents with experience of care in Scotland.  Moira will share the learning and future plans.

Dr Laura Robertson. Senior Research Officer, The Poverty Alliance. Laura will be sharing research evidence on the impacts of the cost of living crisis on communities and families on low incomes in Scotland. This talk will focus on the challenges facing parents on low incomes in Scotland and how these challenges impact family wellbeing. 

Virginie Clayton, Unity Sisters – The person is who they are because of another person. Unity Sisters is a self-organised support group for asylum-seeking women, refugees, and their children. A group of women who have all experienced the process of going through the immigration system, and Unity Sisters aim is to support women going through similar experiences to fully integrate into their communities.

“Unity Sisters support us to connect to each other and build the sisterhood’s relationship.”

Sapna Agarwal – Colonisation, displacement and migration have all, in different ways, caused a rupture in the transfer of cultural norms and understanding from one generation to the next. A key aspect of this is how people relate to each other and form attachments, both within family groups but also in the wider community. This talk will look at what has been lost and why, and the attempts being made to reclaim ancestral knowledge.

Research launch

Fatima Durrani – The impact of multi-generational poverty on attachment dynamics within south Asian families residing in Scotland: an investigation of Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities

Isabelle McTamney – An investigation into the interplay between parental incarceration and attachment theory in families experiencing intergenerational poverty and inequality.

 3.00pm Chaired Panel

Q&A Poverty, Communities and Attachment

 3.45pm Roundup

Wendy McAuslan, Director, Scottish Attachment in Action

 4.00pm Close

Final programme out now. Find out more by clicking conference programme.










There is also opportunities to sponsor the event or elements of the event and to exhibit.  You can find out more HERE. Please get in touch to discuss.

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