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Our Organisation and History

We’ve had a long and varied history over the years, but our mission has always been the same: to fight poverty in the UK and Ireland and help people through tough times.

Our charity first began at a social gathering in 1897 when Elizabeth Finn, a pioneering 72 year old woman, made a stand 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.

It was from these humble beginnings that the charity’s work began as the Distressed Gentlefolks' Aid Association, based in Elizabeth Finn’s London home. By the time she died in 1921, it was firmly established as a vital source of support for people in poverty across the UK and Ireland.

Poverty in the Victorian era was very different to what we deal with today but it would be wrong to think that it is no longer a problem in the 21st Century. Today over 14 million people in the UK are classed as living in poverty, including 3.5 million children.

We believe this is unacceptable.  If you do too, please help us make a difference so we can continue to be there for people in poverty.


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 and trains 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.