PSS celebrates 100 years as Liverpool’s leading social enterprise

Founded by Eleanor Rathbone in 1919, PSS has helped to plug gaps in social care in Liverpool and across the UK and is organising a series of events to mark its centenary

Lesley Dixon
PSS chief executive Lesley Dixon. Picture by Gareth Jones


Liverpool social enterprise PSS will mark its 100th birthday in 2019 with a programme of initiatives and special surprises throughout the year.

The celebration kicks off later this month 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.

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. In June, PSS chief executive, Lesley Dixon, will participate in the Eleanor Rathbone Social Justice Public Lecture Series at University of Liverpool, to discuss PSS: A Rebel with a Cause since 1919.

And further into the summer a book of stories from PSS’s history will be released, followed by the first of two debate events later in the year, bringing together figureheads from the social care industry to talk about how to solve some of today’s biggest social problems.

Huge impact

Founded in Liverpool by Eleanor Rathbone in 1919, PSS has led the way over the last 100 years, plugging the gaps in social care and making a huge impact on the lives of people up and down the country.

From being the first organisation to introduce social workers to hospitals and work placements for social work students, to starting up well-known causes such as Age UK, Legal Aid, Riverside Housing and the Citizens’ Advice Bureau on Merseyside, PSS has helped people in their time of need, and it is still innovating and creating to this day.

Today PSS has around 20 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.

Untold story

Chief executive Lesley Dixon 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.”

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