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Elizabeth Finn Care and Turn2us are coming together under one name. This page explains why we are doing this, what’s changing, and what’s not. Find out more.

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Our history

We’ve had a long and varied history over the years, but our mission has always been the same; to fight poverty in the UK and Ireland and make life better for people in financial hardship.

Our charity first began at a social gathering in 1897 when Elizabeth Finn, a pioneering 72 year old woman, made a stand and read accounts from people who were living in poverty. Her audience were so moved that many volunteered to fundraise and get support from their friends.

It was from these humble beginnings that the charity’s work began as the Distressed Gentlefolk’s Aid Association. It started its main operation in Finn’s London home and by the time she died in 1920 it was firmly established as a vital source of support for people in poverty across the UK and Ireland.

Poverty in the Victorian era was very different to what we deal with today, but it would be wrong to think that it is no longer a problem in the 21st Century. Today over 13 million people in the UK are classed as living in poverty, including 3.5 million children.

We believe this is unacceptable.  If you do too, please help us make a difference so we can continue to be there for people in poverty.

1897

Elizabeth Finn founds the Distressed Gentlefolk’s Aid Association at the age of 72.

1904

The charity receives its first legacy from founding Chairman, Colonel William Knolly, of £450, which is £40,000 today.

1948

Shortly after the Second World War there’s a shortage of care homes for the elderly. The charity buys a home in Surrey, as well as two other care homes the next year.

1965

The charity opens its first care home in the North of England, Hampden House, which was also the first purpose built care home in Harrogate.

1999

Times are changing, following talks with supporters the charity changes our name from the Distressed Gentlefolk’s Aid Association to the Elizabeth Finn Trust in honour of our founder.

2007

The number of people coming to us for help is increasing so we create Turn2us. The service set up a website and helpline to help people in financial hardship to access welfare benefits, charitable grants and other financial help; and trains volunteers, advisers and caseworkers to help those who need further support.
Not only does the service support the traditional work of Elizabeth Finn Care, but it also allows us to direct support to a wider range of people in financial difficulty.

2008

Elizabeth Finn Care wins the 2008 Third Sector Award for Innovation in Grant Making.

2009

The Charity reaches a major landmark as it has given away a total of £130,000,000 in direct grants since its foundation.

2010

Elizabeth Finn Care wins a competitive bid from the City of Edinburgh Council to consolidate 35 poverty related funds into The Edinburgh Trust, a charitable fund for the people of Edinburgh.

2011

Turn2us grows in size with over 5 million people in financial difficulty using the service, including over 100,000 calls to the helpline since its foundation.

2012

The Turn2us online service receives the accolade of a Nominet Internet Award for being one of the best online charity initiatives in the UK.

2012

The work of Elizabeth Finn Care continues to grow with over 350 volunteers providing face-to-face support to those seeking our help.

2013

Turn2us launches a new Benefits Calculator to take into account the largest change in the benefits system since it began.

2015

We decide to come together as one charity under the name Turn2us. This is to help us make the biggest impact we can for people in financial hardship. We continue to give direct grants to people and their families under the name Elizabeth Finn Fund and The Edinburgh Trust.

Have a story to share about the charity. Learn about our Capturing History and Memories project if you or someone you know has supported our charity in the past.