From being close to being killed to helping Warwickshire's young people
A SCREWDRIVER in the head proved a life-changing moment for Steven Russell.
If it had been forced into his skull at a different angle it could have been life-ending - but Steven, now 36, seized his second chance to reach out and help others.
The journey that started in the aftermath of that horrific attack has seen him establish Elements, an organisation that supports young people with their social, emotional and mental health.
He launched it in 2018 after a number of years in a variety of support worker roles.
In an exclusive interview, he told the Herald: "I decided I needed to create something I could put me into and that was Elements."
And he has a very clear of the role it can play: "Wherever there's a child, there's always a child in need."
He has worked with a number of schools and local authorities in a variety of settings and last month started working with Warwickshire County Council to support children and young people in care.
This is an area of work where his own story is particularly relevant - as a child, he lived with nine foster families, was placed into two children’s homes, and attended five different schools, in and around Birmingham.
There were some good experiences along the way but the upheavals and abuse he experienced took its toll, until the night a house party turned into a big street fight.
"I realised I'd been stabbed and went to the ground and I remember waking up in the QE Hospital in Birmingham and the nurse said I was a lucky one. She said I'd been stabbed in the head with a screwdriver and it had gone upwards so it had just chipped the bone.
"When I left that hospital I thought I was fortunate to be leaving and wouldn't go back to the way it was. I reinvented myself - 2005 was a new beginning, I literally changed everything."
He got a job working in a warehouse but then got the all-important break when someone saw beyond his lack of qualifications - he'd left school with no GCSEs - to give him a role as a support worker based on his experiences.
That was the path that led to the setting up of Elements and he believes the impact of his own experience is a lesson to us all: "A child will connect with you when they sense you are being real, when things seem genuine and authentic."
At the time the contract with Warwickshire was launched last month, he said: “Elements aims to be a beacon of hope for any child or young person in the care system that is concerned or worried about their situation.
“When children and young people feel their emotional well-being is being prioritised, they are far more likely to feel better about themselves and engage positively in learning. Being in care is a journey, it takes patience and optimism, but we will work with every child so that they can reach their full potential.”
Elements will provide one-to-one in-depth support programmes which will run for a number of weeks with individuals and will also deliver workshops for social care teams, foster carers and other professionals to help them communicate better with children and young people.
County Cllr Jeff Morgan: “We’re pleased to welcome Steven and the Elements team on board to grow their business and help WCC shape our service for children in care.
“Elements has so much to offer our children in care across the county. Steven should be proud as it’s his hard work, skills and experience of care that has made this happen.”
Their work in the county is under way and Steven told the Herald: "I'm really pleased with how things have gone - so far, so good. I'm really, really impressed with how Warwickshire has been supporting Elements and Warwickshire has been getting some really good feedback.
"We've started on a fruitful relationship and long may it continue."
To find out more about Elements - and Steven's story - go to: https://elementssupport.com/.