Our Organisation and History

From our origins in 1897 to our present-day work, Turn2us remains as committed to fighting poverty in the UK as we were 125 years ago. 



The Turn2us story began in 1897, when Elizabeth Finn set out to help people struggling to make ends meet. Fast forward to 125 years later, we are still here, enabling people experiencing life events to be more financially secure, or even to lift themselves out of poverty, through our practical financial support, information and programmes.

Elizabeth Finn Homes 

Turn2us was first established as the Distressed Gentlefolks' Aid Association in 1897. In 1948 the charity founded the Elizabeth Finn Homes business; a wholly owned subsidiary of Turn2us.  Operating nine care homes across England, it was initially established in 1948 in response to a shortage of homes for the elderly.  Today, the homes still exist to support Turn2us, with all operating profit invested into the charity’s work to improve the lives of people affected by financial insecurity and poverty.  

Turn2us today 

Over the course of our 125-year history, we have invested the charity’s resources into providing vital support as life events unfold and plunge people into financial insecurity. This includes awarding over £3.6 million in through 3780 grants in 2021 alone. We have also helped over two million people understand their benefit entitlement through our benefits calculator tool in the last year. Since its inception, Elizabeth Finn Homes has provided care for over 12,000 residents.  

The next chapter 

As we mark our 125th year, and recognise the legacy left by our founder, Elizabeth Finn, we are to embark upon a period of transformational change. Our work will see us divest some of our investment income to reach the most vulnerable and disenfranchised, whilst working in partnership and co-production with others, to better understand and influence the systemic structures that create the social-economical injustices experienced by so many. By joining us on this next chapter of change for Turn2us, you will help our story continue until we can see a future where charities like ours are no longer needed.  

Turn2us Timeline 


Elizabeth Finn founds the Distressed Gentlefolks' Aid Association at the age of 72.


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


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


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.


Times are changing. Following talks with supporters, the charity changes its name from the Distressed Gentlefolks' Aid Association to the Elizabeth Finn Trust in honour of our founder.


The number of people coming to us for help is increasing so we create Turn2us. The service sets up a website and helpline to help people in financial hardship to access welfare benefits, charitable grants and other financial help. We train 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.


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


Turn2us is formally reintegrated with its parent charity, Elizabeth Finn Care. The Charity reaches a major landmark as it has given away a total of £130,000,000 in direct grants since its foundation.


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.


Turn2us grows in size with over five million people in financial difficulty using the service - this includes over 100,000 calls to the helpline since its foundation.


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

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


Turn2us launches a new Benefits Calculator to take into account the greatest ever overhaul of the benefits system.


We integrate all of our activities under the name Turn2us. This is to help us make the biggest impact we can for people experiencing tough times. We continue to give direct grants to people and their families under the name Elizabeth Finn Fund and The Edinburgh Trust.


Turn2us Response Fund launched to help people who have had a life-changing event in the last 12 months that has left them struggling financially.


The charity launches a three year strategy. This coincides with the coronavirus outbreak and subsequent lockdown, which we respond to by raising over £2.4 million and awarding a record £1.3 million in crisis grants within just three months. 


Turn2us launches the Local Programmes Strategy - a commitment to providing targeted and localised services in communities that need it most. We also realign our strategy in preparation for 2023 and beyond. 

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