About the Charity

Saheliya was established in 1992 by and for Black and Ethnic minority women. In 2018 they supported 1,180 women from 51 different countries in 14 languages, all survivors of domestic and 'honour' abuse, rape, sexual exploitation, trafficking, female genital mutilation (FGM), racism and other forms of discrimination. The services they offer include one-to-one practical and emotional support, therapies, group work, training and free childcare.

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The Funding Process

Saheliya approached Cattanach for funding in May 2019. As part of the proposals process the grants team visited the project and spent the afternoon at different groups, talking to both staff and service users to get a deep understanding of the work and the impact of the service users.

Saheliya were accepted for a £55,983 grant over three years in August 2019. To find out more about the proposal process, please look here.

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How has the funding helped?

For under 3s, Saheliya has two goals: to keep children safe, especially girls as they are often at higher risk, but also recognizing the multitude of adverse childhood experiences the young children that use their services have already experienced. Identified levels of trauma for under 3s in Glasgow are very high, as all are from asylum seeking and refugee communities, which often results in challenging behaviour and attachment issues. More than half of children at Saheliya are on, or at risk of being on, the child protection register as many of Saheliya's service users are displaying parenting behaviours that are at odds with UK norms. There are often severe attachment issues, with women being unable to bond with their children, in extreme cases, because they are the result of rape.

At their year 1 reporting stage Saheliya staff met with the Cattanach evaluations team remotely to discuss how the service had adapted their support in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The organisation have found that to continue to support their service users they have had to pivot their offering and are spending a lot more time on 1:1 listening and emotional support with Mum, supplemented by supplying activities for the children which they will do together through online sessions. 

Staff spending time simply listening to mums and children had a great positive impact on both mothers and children. It has reduced frustration and anxieties experienced by mothers. Mothers also gained knowledge and tips on how to better engage with their children. As a result, mothers are more relaxed and happier to spend more time with children.”

Evaluation Report, July 2020

Through virtual interaction they have continued to monitor signs for potential abuse by observing the interactions of the family where possible. They have identified that despite the change in how they support their families the underlying outcomes remain essential. The key element has been the ability to be flexible and adapt for each client.

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"We greatly appreciate that Cattanach have been supportive and understanding at this challenging time. This has reduced anxieties and pressure staff were feeling in relation to the plans and outcomes of the projects, especially at the beginning of the lockdown."

Saheliya Staff Team

Success in numbers

hours of free creche provided to support women using Saheliya services.
learning and exercise opportunities provided.
hours of case work support provided.
Here is what Saheliya had to say about the Cattanach funding process.


The amazing work of Saheliya makes an invaluable difference to BAME women in Scotland and helps to empower and improve the health and well-being of these vulnerable mothers and children.