Categories Fundraising

Liverpool social enterprise PSS marks Centenary

Liverpool social enterprise, PSS, is to mark its landmark 100th birthday in 2019 with the launch of a new exhibition at Museum of Liverpool.

Thanks to National Lottery Heritage Funding, the exhibit will include a conceptual piece of art created by Liverpool artist, Sarah Nicholson, to mark the occasion.

In addition, events will take place throughout the centenary year. May will see the premier of a specially-produced short film that will throw the spotlight on PSS and the people who have helped shape its story through the decades. Further planned activity include a Public Lecture Series at University of Liverpool and the publication of a book of stories from PSS’s history.

Founded in Liverpool by Eleanor Rathbone in 1919, PSS was the first organisation to introduce social workers to hospitals and work placements for social work students. The social enterprise also started up well-known causes such as Age UK, Legal Aid, Riverside Housing and the Citizens’ Advice Bureau on Merseyside.

Today PSS has around twenty different services – from mental health and rehabilitation for women in the criminal justice system, to care for people with learning and physical disabilities and for families affected by addiction, plus its biggest service, Shared Lives, which PSS created in 1978. Now one of the biggest forms of social care in the UK, it sees  ordinary people opening up their homes and their lives to support vulnerable adults and young people as part of their family.

Lesley Dixon, chief executive, said:

Our history is profound, and the influence that PSS has had over the last 100 years in shaping social care in this country has been formidable, yet still we are probably Liverpool’s best untold story. As for Eleanor Rathbone, we think she is up there with The Beatles as being iconically Liverpool, but not many people know that she was the woman behind PSS.

Our birthday celebration provides the perfect opportunity for us to tell our story – shout about the amazing things we have done over the decades and give a voice to the incredible people who use our services. Importantly, we will also set out our plans for the next 100 years – continuing to be innovative, pioneering and changing people’s lives for the better.

To view PSS’s incredible 100-year timeline, visit

Photo: Lesley Dixon, PSS