For 21 years Russell was Parish Minister in one of Glasgow’s most disadvantaged communities where he was an active chair of Royston Road Project, an ambitious arts-led community development initiative, and chair of a local community drug support project.

He was Coordinator of Chance to Thrive, a 5 year pilot project of The Church of Scotland providing volunteer mentor support to 8 congregations in some of Scotland’s poorest communities to help develop local people’s ideas for regeneration. As a storyteller and part of the Scottish Storytelling Forum, Russell is interested in the stories people tell about themselves and the power of new and positive stories in community life. Initially he trained as an architect and served as a General Trustee of The Church of Scotland.