Graham Russell's Story
Graham Russell investigated community solutions for providing homes and supporting people at risk of homelessness.
Graham Russell was the Chair of Elim Housing Association, a provider of social and supported housing, when he was awarded his Fellowship. His aim was to spend time in Australia exploring ways of better integrating housing, health and care services for people with complex needs.
Australia’s community housing sector enjoyed considerable investment from the Federal Government in 2011. However by 2015 an incoming Liberal Government had withdrawn much of this investment and had a stronger focus on home ownership, reflecting the existing situation in the UK.
Following his Fellowship, Graham was involved in setting up a number of initiatives in the housing sector. These included a homelessness project in Gloucester providing more collaborative working between housing, health and the police, and programmes providing affordable housing for particular needs, such as the traveller community. He also established new ways of increasing the supply of affordable housing, including working in partnership with other housing associations.
More recently Graham has become Chair of Second Step, a mental health not-for-profit based in Bristol. Second Step has responded to the reduction in public funding by working more closely with the NHS and indeed now subcontracts an NHS Trust in the provision of community-based mental health services.
Working with a consortium of public sector and not for profits, Second Step has also attracted £10m funding from the Big Lottery to develop new approaches to tackling the needs of people with complex needs. This provides the opportunity to change the system in positive ways in partnership with other organisations.
Despite the ongoing changes in political priorities and the reduction in public sector investment, Graham continues to finds motivation from his Fellowship in seeking practical solutions to difficult issues.