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Financial Hardship Project


This project focused on finding new and better ways to support more people in financial difficulties to get the help they need.

The Financial Hardship Project aimed to help more people in financial hardship across the UK


In 2017, Turn2us received funding from the Oak Foundation to deliver a three-year project with the aim of helping more people in financial hardship in the UK.

We did this mainly through focusing on two main areas:

  • Expanding our helpline serves to target hard-to-reach groups
  • Developing and sharing our analysis and data to inform policy and campaigning work

Expanding helpline services

We used funding from the Oak Foundation to expand our helpline services to prevent and reduce poverty, homelessness and destitution through the provision of specialist, targeted and timely support.

Through our helpline, we helped people find welfare benefits they were entitled to and grants they were eligible for, based on their background, circumstances and needs. We also offered information and provided our own charitable grants.

Other parts of the project included:

  • Helpline evaluation – we carried out an independent evaluation of our current helpline services and its impact and we are using the findings to develop an improved more effective service.
  • Targeted marketing campaign – using insight from our helpline and national data on digitally deprived areas, we produced a target list of key places across the UK which would benefit from our support. We engaged with these areas, using targeted marketing, including: new leaflets and posters, radio adverts and press releases. We also created content for social media, e-newsletters and websites. We contacted hundreds of local community and voluntary organisations to let as many people as possible know about our services
  • Community volunteers – we recruited a number of local volunteers to promote the helpline to people in their communities who struggled to access Turn2us services online.
  • Improving accessibility to our services:
    • We developed a new web chat tool run by the helpline staff to provide services to people who may struggle with the website but also struggle with phone conversations (such as people with hearing difficulties).
    • In addition to promoting our helpline services we created short video guides on benefits to encourage and support people in claiming benefits.

Analysing and sharing our data

We used Oak Foundation funding to better understand Turn2us data to provide the basis for policy and advocacy work and to improve our services. We also shared this data externally to provide insight to support arguments for long-term change.

We did this through:

  • Data portal – we created a publicly available dashboard called the Data Portal which captures data from millions of our service users. It gives a real insight into who is living in poverty, and what the impact of that poverty is.
  • Trend reports – we used the insight from this new dashboard to create internal reports. We are using these reports to develop and improve our services as well as forming the basis of our policy work.
  • Sharing insight – we are sharing our data across the sector to help other organisations. Our partner organisations can use this data to develop their services and inform their policy work.

Future funding

One of our on-going aims is to continue this project beyond the original three-years. We are seeking to secure future funding from corporate and statutory organisations and those with an interest in helping to alleviate poverty.

Order Turn2us leaflets and posters

If you work with vulnerable people and want to order leaflets or posters with our helpline number details, email:

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