Why Attachment Matters to Black and Minority Ethnic Families?

Current Projects

The Robertson Trust has invested in Scottish Attachment in Action’s ‘Why Attachment Matters to Black and Minority Ethnic Families’ Proposal.

Black and minority ethnic families and communities are too often on the edge of services that could offer support. When services are accessed there can be a lack of understanding of societal power and inequality leading to their  voices not being heard and continued ‘othering’.   Funded by The Robertson Trust for three years from 2022, SAIA is embarking on co-creating with parents and community groups a series of workshops that will explore with them Why Attachment Matters.   What is attachment? What do attachment relationships mean to them;  How are these relationships affected by societal power and inequality? How can services  be influenced?  Most importantly, what will be supportive in their own lives,  their family’s  lives and in their communities?  Sustainability beyond the funding in terms of building a community of formal and informal support will be at the forefront of co-creating the content of the workshops.  The impact of the workshops will be evaluated.  More information will be available about   ‘Why Attachment Matters in Supporting Black and Minority Ethnic Families’ as the plan unfolds.

What’s Happening Now?

The project is being led by Gillian Neish and Edwina Grant, both Trustees of SAIA. Gillian is a trainer who works with individuals and organisations in all sectors to help them recognise and fulfil their potential. The focus of her work is power, whether challenging the power inequalities of racism, sexism and the other ‘isms’ or developing personal power through personal development programmes. Edwina is an independent chartered educational psychologist and certified Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP) practitioner, consultant and trainer. She works with children and families in a range of contexts from residential care to family therapy.

Co-production is at the heart of this project. To this end Gillian and Edwina invited representatives from organisations across Scotland that support black and ethnic minority communities to development sessions. One of these in person and one on line. 

Representatives from SCORE, Unity Sisters, Saheliya, Grampian Racial Equality, African Women’s Group Scotland, Scottish Ethnic Minority Women’s Network; two independent practitioners also attended.

                                                                        BAME project participants

We explained the aims of the BME Project:

– to explore Why Attachment Matters and what would be supportive in people’s own lives, their families’ lives and in their communities 

– to facilitate a series of short, pilot courses that create a safe place for participants to share experiences and build new attachment relationships which they may choose to sustain beyond the end of the course 

– to evaluate the courses and co-create resources that participants can use more widely to help others to find their voices and better understand attachment

– to sustain the learning from the project beyond the three year funding period by developing and supporting a network of previous participants to create safe spaces for members of the wider community to meet and continue the conversation

The courses will enable the participants firstly to recognise the barriers to accessing appropriate support when they need it. They will then have the opportunity to explore practical ways to ensure that their voices are heard.

As part of this exploration we will encourage participants to reflect on the importance of their experience of attachment relationships and the influence this has had throughout their lives. We will invite participants to share how these relationships, personal and in community, can benefit us in finding our voices as well as create challenges to doing so. In both the in person and online sessions participants were so generous in their support. The sessions were rich and very powerful with much sharing of stories, enthusiasm for the project, and issues/ideas for the workshops.

Participants agreed to be a resource for the project and will meet with us again when workshops have taken place. They also unanimously agreed to connect with each other. One of the aims of the project is to create sustainable supportive networks. Thanks to the Development Session participants, the project has its first networks. Workshops are being planned for later in the year. More information will be available as the project unfolds.

Participants feedback:

  • What a wonderful journey and I don’t want it to end. So accepting. I would like the course to have been longer. I have looked forward to it every week. I am usually the one giving support and it was just amazing to be offered supportI want to continue to be involved in the course being offered to the women I support; it could change their lives.
  • I found it safe and challenging too.
  • I have enjoyed the whole course. Safe, relaxed, enabling us each to tell our stories and reflect. More black and Asian women should have access to this. I want to continue to be involved .
  • A safe place to just ‘be’, so important. The course has supported me to reflect on my own attachment history.
  • It would be good to develop a toolkit for attachment training for Black, Asian and Minority Ethic groups with support to learn how to deliver this.


It is also our pleasure and pride to announce that one of our participants, Bertha Yakuba, has been awarded an MBE for her services to the African community across Scotland.


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