Anti-poverty charity app wins Guardian award



National anti-poverty charity Turn2us has won the Guardian Public Service Awards for ‘Digital Innovation’ thanks to its development of the Connect App that helps people claim the welfare benefits they are entitled to.

Why this app?

Every year, at least £17.6bn of means-tested benefits is left unclaimed. This high figure is partially caused by an overly complex and hostile welfare system, perceived stigma of claiming benefits and problems around digital inclusion.

Turn2us, in partnership with Reason Digital, has built an app to overcome these barriers by connecting people missing out on welfare benefits with trained volunteers who can walk them through the process.

Since the app launched in March 2019, beneficiaries of the app have seen their financial situation improve, their anxiety levels reduce and their life satisfaction rates grow.

  • Financial situation improves on average from 3.8 to 8.6 out of 10 (+126%)
  • Anxiety levels decreases on average from 7.2 to 3.15 out of 10 (-56%)
  • Life satisfaction increases on average from 5 to 6.15 out of 10 (+23%)

The charity estimates that where the claim is successful, on average, users of the Turn2us Connect App will secure a household uplift of £2,600 a year.

The Turn2us Connect App is a natural follow on from the Turn2us Benefits Calculator, which launched in 2013 and was used over two million times in 2018/19. Turn2us can now help people find out what they are entitled to and help them to go on and claim it.

An additional benefit of the Turn2us Connect App is that it provides a new volunteering opportunity for people who feel that they do not have the time or capacity for volunteering in more traditional activities. Connect enables people to fit in volunteering in their day-to-day lives, all they require is access to a phone, tablet or laptop.

One new volunteer said: “I am at home most of the time due to health reasons and feel that this would be a good way for me to do something useful. I also think it would be great experience for future work. I enjoy helping people and have helped many neighbours and friends through the benefit system. I think this role would suit my situation perfectly.”

Debby Mulling, Head of Engagement and Project Lead for Connect at Turn2us, said:

“Every year billions of benefits go unclaimed, while the very people missing out on them are struggling with their rents, bills and life essentials.

“We know that the barriers to claiming include a lack of information, problems getting online, confidence and stigma around benefits. Connect tackles those barriers head on. The beauty of Connect is that help is available via text message, and you don’t have to worry about installing anything or even having an internet connection to get help.