Elizabeth Anne Finn and her daughter, Constance, founded Elizabeth Finn Care (EFC), previously The Distressed Gentlefolk’s Aid Association, in 1897. Since then EFC has been assisting clients worldwide to overcome the effects of poverty by servicing the need, not the want.
The organisation was established to help British and Irish Nationals, professional people from many walks of life who, through no fault of their own, have fallen upon difficult times financially. They are living on a low income or means tested benefits. The range of professional occupations includes artists and the performing arts to the medical and legal profession. We also consider the occupations of the partners, both past and present, of those applying and endeavour to help where possible. The cause for the sudden crisis may be illness, loss of income, marital breakdown and bereavement, to name but a few.
EFC falls under the UK Data Protection Act and all applications are treated with the strictest confidence. We understand that life can be hard and sometimes a little help is required. We endeavour to listen and support when help is really needed.
We are able to help by a one-off award; for some we will review their situation on the anniversary of their initial award. We are also able to consider care home top-up fees, health insurance premiums, retraining courses and rent in advance, white goods and mobility aids to name but a few. Obviously we carefully consider all applications and lend a hand in the best way that we are able. Unfortunately, as with all charities, there are areas where we are unable to offer assistance.
In these cases it’s vitally important that we signpost to other charities, both in France and the UK, to endeavour to obtain the best possible support for those in need. However, we have found that many UK charities are now being forced to restrict those that they assist to UK residents only. We will almonise with numerous other charities where we are unable to cover the total need.
EFC also signposts to any French or UK statutory benefits that may be applicable. Sometimes we do find that the local State agencies can be far from helpful when UK expats try to apply for benefits.
We have a website – www.turn2us.org.uk – and a helpline service. These offer assistance by signposting other organisations that may assist.
We have noticed that in some French departments a small number of our beneficiaries, who are also in receipt of French State benefits, have had these State benefits reduced due to our award. This is, obviously, of great concern and something that we wish to avoid. It appears that the French attitude to grant giving differs widely from that in the UK.
Here in France, we are now well established and continue to grow and develop. Through different media outlets, and our association with various charities and consulates, we endeavour to reach as many applicants as possible.
A team of fully trained Volunteer Visitors assist me. These volunteers will visit potential and existing beneficiaries to ensure that the aid that is on offer is going to maximise their quality of life. If required our volunteers will also visit clients of other charities where they do not have an available volunteer, likewise we sometimes have to call on members of other charities to visit one of our clients. Again confidentiality is strictly maintained.