PISCES is an acronym for Partnerships in Social and Community Enterprise in Schools, Skills for Life and Social Care.
It aims to create programmes which maximise the resources and skills of its partners whilst leaving the accountability and responsibility with those communities where the issues occur.
PISCESWM was founded in 2007 by John White. It aims to bring individuals, groups and organisations from all sectors to address challenges which address poverty, worklessness and discrimination in our communities both here in the United Kingdom as well as Europe.
JOHN WHITE, FOUNDER
JOHN WHITE was arguably one of the U.Ks first Social Entrepreneurs. A qualified Social Worker he started his career in 1967 at the age of 18 working with families displaced from the east end of London to Bracknell New Town.
In 1980 He left his well paid and secure role as a Senior manager in Social Services in protest against the unduly bureaucratic processes imposed on his daily routines and, with his family bought a rural Post office and Stores in Herefordshire from where he established an independent 24 /7 day community support and advisory service.
Branded a ‘Red Tape Rebel’ he went on to establish England’s first advisory and support service for rural shops which were beginning to suffer from the effects of the emerging Supermarket revolution and set up the first development Team in the UK for one of the largest Charities, Help the Aged (now Age UK) advising on the investment of funds in some of the U.Ks most challenging areas of need for older people.
He has subsequently worked extensively accross the U.K and Europe with individuals and groups from all sectors of the community and been involved in several Transnational partnership projects with representatives of over 18 European countries.
In 2014 at the age of 70 he retired from active work and closed PISCESWM down but in 2017 he was persuaded to re-establish the organisation following several requests from U.K and European Partners.
PISCESWM is NOT a one man band but dependant on the skills of a number of close associates with whom John has worked over a number of years. Its Chair is Alvin Vernon, an acclaimed Entrepreneur based in Wolverhampton dedicated to improving the life chances of young men and women marginalised in their communities.
JOHN WHITE, Founding Director
ALVIN VERNON, Chairperson
PISCESWM & BREXIT
Brexit has effectively ‘killed off’ 12 years of joyful and successful collaboration with countries across Europe. Throughout this time we have been able to share a huge amount of knowledge and expertise, most recently in partnership with Caritas organisations from Germany, Austria, Romania, Lithuania and Italy.
This type of collaboration was totally overlooked/ignored during the Brexit campaign and the impact this will have upon our younger generation is immeasurable.
As Director of PISCESWM, I will continue to fight for opportunities for ongoing collaboration although there are no indications as to whether the Erasmus Programme or an equivalent will be introduced.
Our European partners have, without exception pledged to maintain their friendship and in May we will be welcoming a delegation of 30 colleagues from Linz in Austria who will be undertaking a Study Tour featuring West Smethwick Enterprises and a number of other initiatives in which PISCESWM has an interest.
PISCESWM TO SEEK CHARITY STATUS
With some uncertainty surrounding the future direction of West Smethwick Enterprises with the unexpected departure of it’s recently appointed Operations Director, Adam Cooper to Barnados West Midlands it is essential that we maintain a vision to support the Healthy, Happy Tums initiative which was featured in the Family For a element of our recent European partnership.
Arrangements are therefore in hand to relaunch PISCESWM as a registered Charity with a facility for it to raise funds in its own right to progress this programme which features Healthy Living.
EDGBASTON & LADYWOOD HEALTHY LIVING PARTNERSHIP
Negotiations are well advanced to introduce a new programme based at the Edgbaston Community centre PICTURE
Based in a diverse and Multi cultural community including the Refugee Council 10 local organisations and groups are being invited , in line with the PISCES ethos to work together to provide gardens , catering facilities and education to help children and families understand how food is produced and the benefits of its ‘processing’ to not only provide nutritious but also low cost meals.
WEST SMETHWICK ENTERPRISES
Pisces plays an integral role in the development of this project in Smethwick.
Smethwick is one of the poorest neighbourhoods in Great Britain with high levels of child poverty and worklessness. It also provides homes for very many individuals and families who have migrated to this country to seek refuge from the horrors and atrocities in their own land.
W.S.E which was established through the Methodist Church some 12 years ago now provides daily support to over 100 families and children from the nearby community and employs 31 staff.
The Church decided some 2 years ago that it no longer felt able to support the project and a new Charitable Company has been formed . John White is a Director of this company.
2 significant initiatives have been developed:
Healthy Happy Tums is arguably a unique initiative within the UK featuring not only a direct partnership between WSE and PISCES but also , with west Midlands Police. West Midlands police though their team in Smethwick have provided a large allotment space where Children and families will be able to grow fruit and vegetables all the year round.
These , in turn, will be turned into Meals in the kitchens of W.S.E promoting a wide variety of cultural differences in diet and food preparation.
As a keen gardener John has taken a lead and has provided a Polytunnel and equipment and will be securing a supply of seeds and plants for next year
Inclusive Family education and support in the light of EU 2020
For many years PISCES has been a partner in a number of programmes lead by Caritas Cologne and has taken the opportunity, in the current partnership, to involve staff from WSE and even more significantly West Midlands Police.
In October a team of 4 visited Targu Mures in Romania alongside partners from Germany, Italy, Austria and Lithuania to see, at first hand , the challenges faced by Romanian Families particularly those from the Roma Community. This provided major insight into the reasons why so many adults from Romania migrate to the UK and particularly Smethwick and Birmingham.
Further visits are planned for next year to Italy, Lithuania and Germany.
On November 26 2018, John attended a Forum in Brussels where this project was showcased to an audience of senior Caritas officials as an example of ‘Best European Practice’.
FUTURE PROJECT: PISCES IN EDGBASTON
Plans are afoot, in partnership with Chris Hoare, Chair of the South Edgbaston Community group to develop a community hub in a nearby school.
This will be a perfect sequel to the highly successful Lottery funded Cardinal Newman Heritage programme.
One of the legacies from this project was a network of Murals commissioned by Jacquie Nash.
To mark this development a Christmas tree of celebration was donated by PISCES to Edgwood Court.