Poverty charity reveals new purpose amid coronavirus response



A national poverty charity, which provided over £3 million in crisis grants to households struggling to cope during the Coronavirus pandemic, has revealed a new purpose and strategy to tackle the fallout of unexpected life shocks.

Turn2us has set out its commitment to offer information and support to people facing life changing events in a three-year plan. The new approach includes combining policy, partnerships and co-production with service users, in order to deepen the impact of practical support for people following the pandemic, as well as addressing the systemic issues that trap people in poverty.

  • Policy: the charity’s policy and advocacy work will focus on tackling the prejudice that exists towards people experiencing poverty and insist on their fundamental rights to access social security.
  • Partnerships: through collaborating with other organisations we can deliver even better impact for people facing financial hardship.
  • Co-production and insight: Turn2us will develop projects and initiatives in coalition with people with experience of financial hardship and commit to sharing our data led insights into poverty and the effect of life events.

The new purpose and strategy is being led by a dedicated organisational leadership team, in order to drive it forward and make sure people have the support they need to keep themselves afloat; when they need it.

Turn2us has appointed three new members to its Leadership Team, along with its new strategy. Joining the five-person Organisational Leadership Team (OLT) are:

  • Sonya Ruparel – Director of Programmes and Partnerships
  • Jo Kerr – Director of Impact and Innovation
  • Thomas Mathew – Director of Finance and Resources

The team, which is headed by chief executive, Tom Lawson, also includes the Director of Income and External Affairs, Jamie Grier.

Thomas Lawson, Chief Executive at Turn2us, said: “We are delighted to strengthen our Organisational Leadership Team by appointing three new Directors to help us drive forward with our new purpose.

“Our new strategy has been developed in partnership with people who have experienced not having enough money to live on. They know best and we are committed to ensuring co-production remains at the heart of all we do moving forward. This is why we have already invited lived experts onto our board. But this is only the beginning.

“We are at the start of a very exciting journey, and we are unashamedly ambitious in our new strategy to improve the lives of people for whom we’re here to exist. I can’t wait for us to build partnerships, influence policy and deliver programmes to support people facing life changing events and break patterns of stigma. Only by working together will we be able to tackle poverty and support people so they can thrive.”

The charity’s new purpose was conceived in collaboration with people with lived experience of poverty.

The new purpose: So everyone has the opportunity to build financial sustainability and thrive, Turn2us offers the information and support people need in the face of life changing events, and collaborates to tackle the causes and symptoms of poverty. 

Turn2us’ three-year strategy, created in partnership with service users, is underpinned by six key aims:

  1. Deliver high-quality, practical programmes that include information and financial support so that people can build their own financial sustainability and thrive.
  2. Deliver even better impact for people facing financial hardship through the co-production of our work with experts who have lived experience, in collaboration with other organisations and through a dedication to insight, evaluation, learning and improvement.
  3. Build the profile of Turn2us and its work to reach people facing life-changing events and experiencing poverty, and secure support for the work.
  4. Develop our influence on policy, practice and public opinion, tackling the prejudice towards people experiencing poverty and insisting on their fundamental rights to access social security.
  5. Invest in our culture, systems, knowledge and skills.
  6. Maximise our assets and secure income ethically to achieve impact.

To tackle the causes and symptoms of poverty, and the unhelpful discourses that surround it, Turn2us aims to build a movement powered by people who have first-hand knowledge. Co-production is therefore at the heart of everything moving forward, and Turn2us can commit to being completely guided by experts with lived experience.

Turn2us was established in 1897 as the ‘Distressed Gentlefolks’ Aid Association’.

Read the full strategy.