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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 make life better for people in financial hardship.

Our charity was born at a social gathering in 1897 when Elizabeth Finn, a pioneering 72 year old, read her visitors accounts of people who were living in poverty. Her audience were so moved that many volunteered to fundraise and ask their friends to support the cause.

The charity was named the Distressed Gentlefolk’s Aid Association and it was from these humble beginnings that work began. Started in Finn’s London home, by the time she died in 1920 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 750,000 people are classed as living in poverty in Ireland; one in five children live in households with incomes below the poverty line.

1897

Elizabeth Finn founds the Distressed Gentlefolk’s Aid Association at the age of 72.

1904

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

1948

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

1999

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

2006

The first ever Regional Coordinator for Ireland is appointed by the charity with the objective of increasing awareness of our work in Ireland and helping more people in financial need

2008

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

2009

The Charity reaches a major landmark as it has given away a total of £130,000,000 in direct grants since its foundation.

2012

Work continues to grow, with over 350 volunteers across the UK and Ireland providing face-to-face support to those seeking our help.

2015

The charity is re-named Turn2us.The new Turn2us brand was unveiled in the Mansion House in Dublin in April 2015 at the launch of our “Working together to overcome Poverty in Ireland” programme.