Turn2us turns 120


Turn2us is celebrating its 120th anniversary this year. Since 1897, we have awarded over £155 million in grants to people in financial hardship.

Turn2us started as the Distressed Gentlefolks’ Aid Association in 1897. Elizabeth Finn, a pioneering 72 year old woman, made a stand at a social gathering 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.

While poverty in the Victorian era was very different, it is still a very real problem in the 21st century. Over 14 million people currently live in poverty in Britain, according to government statistics.

From humble beginnings awarding grants from Elizabeth Finn’s home, to a modern digitised grant service, with the additions of a Benefits Calculator and other services, Turn2us has evolved with the times.

Although much has changed, notes from a meeting in 1901 reveal that the work we do now is bedded in the same foundations.

The notes read: “An old lady over 70, who lived with her sister older still, one being nearly blind and the other suffering from heart disease and dropsy, had only £9 a year between them. This Association made a weekly grant for which they were most grateful.”

Simon Hopkins, Chief Executive of Turn2us, said: “The face of poverty and our response to tackling it have changed massively over the last 120 years.

“Since 1897 we’ve seen the evolution of the welfare state, the rise of digital technology to improve access to practical help and a host of other changes.

“But our overriding thought on this anniversary is that we want to see a world in which we simply don’t need Turn2us; that in a lot less than another 120 years we will have truly defeated the scourge of UK poverty.”

Use Turn2us tools to find help

If you are living in financial hardship, use our Benefits Calculator and our Grants Search to see if you are eligible for any extra funds.