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We are campaigners fighting for more support for bereaved families, fairer funerals and ending poverty. In our blog we discuss issues and themes related to dignity, emotional support and affordablity in funerals.

 

Where is the most expensive place to die in Scotland?

Where is the most expensive place to die in Scotland?

Funerals can be very expensive. In fact, latest figures show that the average cost of a funeral in Scotland is now £3,837, so it is no surprise to also learn that funeral poverty in the UK amounts to £82.7m.*

But this isn’t a flat rate, and the figure can go up or down depending on where you live. Research has found that the costliest funerals are found in Aberdeen, Perth, Inverness or Motherwell.

So what should you do if you live in these places?

Don’t accept the first quote given – shop around. We know it can be a stressful time, but if you can at least get a few quotes from a number of funeral directors, then you may avoid paying more than you should.

Ensure all the costs are listed so you don’t end up paying for something that might not be necessary or something you want.

See if you are eligible for any kind of financial support. The Scottish Government offer a Funeral Support Payment for people who are in receipt of certain benefits. You can find more about that here – Social security: Funeral Support Payment – gov.scot (www.gov.scot)

How can Caledonia Cremation help?

We are a social enterprise funeral director who offer direct cremation across mainland Scotland.

We are charity-run, so our priority is your wellbeing, not profit.

When you call us, you will receive impartial advice and emotional support. If what we offer is right for you then we will do everything we can to take care of you, but if direct cremation isn’t for you, then we won’t pressurise you in anyway.

We have also received funding to provide a free emotional support helpline so please do get in touch if that is something that may help you at this time.

Get in touch.

We are here for you, so please do get in touch:
By phone 03000 113 311
By email funerals@caledoniacremation.org.uk

*Royal London Funeral Cost Index 2020

Organising a funeral during lockdown

Organising a funeral during lockdown

There is no good time to organise a funeral but during a pandemic where strict regulations are in place and you are shielding is certainly one of the most stressful without a doubt.

It may seem like the best option is to delay the funeral. And that may be the case for you – everyone is different, so we wanted to provide you with some more information. We are a charity-run funeral director, so our priority is to support and empower you to make the right choice for you.

The situation at the moment

The Scottish Government has confirmed that only 20 people will be able to attend a funeral wherever it is taking place.

The limit of 20 people is still subject to strict rules on physical distancing – so if the venue that you are having a ceremony or service in can’t accommodate 20 people when physical distancing rules are in place, the number of guests will have to be smaller.

When will things change?

The Scottish Government has reviewed some regulations but there are still rules in place as mentioned above.

Funerals that are safe right now

Some crematoriums are offering services with limited numbers and live streaming of services so those who can’t attend in person can still attend the service virtually.

We have been exclusively offering direct cremation for some time now. Direct cremation is a cremation with no mourner’s present. It has been the choice for people looking for a modern alternative as it allows families more time to arrange a memorial or celebration that is much more personal to the deceased.

Since lockdown began, we have experienced more calls from people interested in using our services. One example is Linda Hillidge. Linda, who lives in South Africa, recently lost her mother, who lived in Scotland. As the airports in South Africa were closed, Linda was unable to fly to Scotland. However, after some deliberation, she decided direct cremation was the right things to do as she explains:

“when I first heard of the concept of direct cremation, I was not a believer and felt I could not go down this route. However, after much more thought on the logistics of how one can make this happen remotely, it became the only and best option for us.

As a family we decided to have our own intimate Celebration of Life for Mom who was so loved throughout her life.

We utilised a very simple format using Zoom to include the family members. My daughter and I had prepared some words to reflect on Mom’s life and all the wonderful memories we had and will forever cherish. We had intermittent music, some songs which Mom sang over the years as she loved singing, she was always nominated at the family get togethers.

To have final closure we will fly to Scotland when the lockdown is over.”

Advice and support

Due to the increased anxiety experienced by the bereaved during these unprecedented times, we have set up a free emotional support helpline to anyone who has lost a loved one recently. It is open to anyone – even if you don’t choose us for your funeral, so please do get in touch if you would like to speak to an experienced counsellor – 03000 113 311

If you have questions about direct cremation, then contact us. Our highly experienced team are caring and compassionate and as we are a not for profit funeral directors, they won’t give you the hard sell. We can also advise you on the financial support available and help you with your application if you are eligible.

Emotional support for the bereaved in Scotland

Emotional support for the bereaved in Scotland

Losing a loved one is one of the hardest experiences anyone could face, but during this period of social distancing, families are facing additional anxiety over not being able to say their goodbyes. As a result, Caledonia Cremation is providing a dedicated emotional support line for anyone anywhere in Scotland who has just lost a parent, child, sibling, friend or partner.

The helpline is part-funded by a new grant from Foundation Scotland from their Response Fund which has allowed us to employ a trained psychotherapist who can provide much needed support during these unprecedented times.

Our co-founder John Halliday explains more:
“As a charity-owned social enterprise, our priority is first and foremost to support people in Scotland. Up until now that has been by providing dignified, caring, not-for profit funerals which don’t push families into funeral debt. We have always provided a caring service, but these are unprecedented times and we felt we needed to increase our capacity to provide emotional support – even if that person hasn’t used our services.

We are grateful for the funding from Foundation Scotland as it has allowed us to employ a highly experienced counsellor and psychotherapist. This frees up the rest of the team who are working hard online and by phone, advising clients on how they can still say their goodbyes in this period of social distancing and helping people in poverty to claim funeral benefits.

We always said it was important that there was a not-for-profit funeral director like us, someone who genuinely does not profit a penny from a loss. This is something we can do to really give back to society with everything we have got while also bringing prices down. Grieving people need support right now, and they can trust us to put their care first.”

The service is now up and running so anyone who needs help, please do get in touch by calling 03000 11 33 01.

My experience of a funeral during lockdown

My experience of a funeral during lockdown

Kathryn has kindly agreed to share her experience of her mum’s funeral, which took place during lockdown.

“I lost my mum to Covid on 2 January. I knew about direct cremation but didn’t think it was quite right for my mum’s send off, so I went with a ceremony at a crematorium.

There was a strict capacity limit at the crematorium, which meant we could only invite a small percentage of the people who wanted to come. In addition, many of mum’s closest friends could not attend as they were shielding.

The funeral went ahead, and we tried to honour mum the best we could, but we felt very rushed as the crematorium was very busy. There was a live stream available for those who couldn’t attend to watch, but it was very low quality, and you couldn’t hear all of what was being said. Finally, we couldn’t go somewhere afterwards to remember mum with those she loved and cared for.

As a result, I felt we didn’t give mum the send-off she deserved, despite spending well over £3,000. For me it became more of an expensive formality and didn’t honour mum nearly as much as she deserved.

Consequently, we have decided to hold a celebration of life when it is safe to get everyone together. Mum was well liked by many and a total character, so it is important that everyone gets to share their memories and love for her. We want it to be a very big event so we can invite everyone. We will have to save but I don’t care as I need to do what is right for mum.

In hindsight, I should have given direct cremation more thought, especially considering the costs involved as I have paid in full for a funeral that could only be attended by a small number and now I will be paying for a celebration of life as well. I’m happy to spend as much money as it takes on mum but holding a funeral with the current restrictions in place just didn’t feel like the best thing for her or us.”

Want to know more about direct cremation?

Direct cremation is a cremation with no mourner’s present. It has been the choice for people looking for a modern alternative as it allows families more time to arrange a memorial or celebration that is much more personal to the deceased.

Caledonia Cremation is a charity-run funeral directors who offer not-for-profit direct cremation across Scotland. We also offer emotional and practical support throughout the whole process including applying for financial support.

Please do get in touch:

By phone 03000 113 311.
By email funerals@caledoniacremation.org.uk

Mical’s Story

Mical’s Story

Mical is 32 and lives in Edinburgh. Covid-19 has had a devastating impact on her and her family. We have supported her throughout this and she has kindly agreed to share her story with us.

“Early March 2020 I woke up to the news that the company I worked for was going to close due to the pandemic. The redundancy was unexpected which left not only myself but the entire staff shocked. Two days later my Grandma who was 92 at the time contracted COVID-19 and passed away hours after arriving in the hospital. In less than 3 days I faced redundancy and the death of my lovely grandma. As a person who never really had to deal with such a situation in the past, I was completely clueless what the procedure was in terms of funeral arrangements. The country was on the verge of lockdown enforcements meaning that the standard funeral procedures were not an option. Not only that, due to the redundancy, I found myself in a troubled financial situation, not having a job and having to depend on Government help which isn’t that much. Because my Grandma was from abroad, she did not qualify for Government’s Social Security benefits.

I found out about Caledonian Cremation online. I remember phoning and speaking to a lovely bunch of staff who in all sincerity could not have been any more helpful or lovely. They agreed to cremate my grandmother using the family contributions I managed to pull together.

They took care of everything from start to finish, all we had to do was sign the documents and all the rest was taken care off. We decided to pick up my grandma’s ashes, but Caledonian Cremation can deliver it to your door if you prefer.

I would love to finish this review by saying that the rest of the year went on as normal. However, the truth is that in early August, my dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Two months later after receiving the diagnosis, he also contracted COVID-19 and passed away. I could not believe that this was happening again especially after losing my grandma not too long ago. I didn’t hesitate to phone Caledonian Cremation again, being so impressed with their professionalism and caring nature, I just couldn’t trust anyone else to take care of my dad. Unlike the situation with my grandmother, my dad was a resident in the UK and qualified for social security benefit who paid for the entire funeral fee. It was relieved to know that this was an option for low income households.

At Caledonia Cremation, it’s way more than just a cremation service that I received. The staff would phone me and listen to me speak, cry and vent out, something that they weren’t being paid to do, but their loving kindness led the way to be a shoulder to cry on. People spend thousands of pounds on a funeral, sometimes only receiving a bog-standard service with little to no personal sympathy. Caledonia Cremation is not only extremely affordable; the service is simply first class.

I honestly don’t know what I would’ve done without Caledonia Cremation. I think that the only alternative would be to find myself in thousands of pounds of debt, and maybe try and arrange some sort of payment plan which could take a long time to clear, especially as I had been made redundant. With Caledonia Cremations, this was avoided and I have no debt to worry about.”

 

 

A guide to planning a funeral

As a charity-run funeral directors, we are committed to encouraging more frank and open conversations around all things death-related. We believe the taboos that surround the issue of death can contribute to the struggles some can face.

It is a sad fact, but dying is the only certainty in life, yet most people shy away from discussing their last wishes. This can cause distress and confusion to the loved ones left behind who are faced with the task of organising a funeral whilst also grieving.

Therefore we have written Doing Death Differently.  In writing this document, we hope to empower and assist you in starting discussions with your nearest and dearest.

As always if you have any questions, then please do get in touch.

 

Organising a funeral when no financial plans are in place

Need advice on what financial support is available when someone dies? You are not alone. 

When a relative or loved one dies with no financial plans in place, it is difficult to know what to do.

The Royal London National Funeral Index found that in 2020 only one in five (21%) of those who arranged a funeral used a funeral plan.

A third (33%) used savings, 23% had to borrow money from friends or family to pay for the funeral, and nearly one in ten (9%) had to take out a loan, or go into debt, in order to cover the cost.

Here Angela, the funeral director at Caledonia Cremation, shares some advice on where to start and what help is available.

 

As a charity-run funeral directors – our priority is the wellbeing of the bereaved across Scotland. If you have any questions or need advice, then please feel free to get in touch.

You can call our team on 03000 113 311 or email us on funerals@caledoniacremation.org.uk

Why I chose direct cremation for my mother’s funeral

Joe’s mother had some very clear instructions on the type of funeral she wanted upon her passing –“I knew my mum wanted cremated, she didn’t want to be buried.”

Here Joe shares his reason’s for choosing direct cremation and how Caledonia Cremation supported him.

 

If you have any questions about direct cremation, then please do get in touch. We are a charity-run funeral directors, so our priority is your well being and for you to feel empowered in whatever decision you take.

You can call our team on 03000 113 311 or email us on funerals@caledoniacremation.org.uk

Financial support available when organising a funeral

Financial support available when organising a funeral

It’s difficult to know what to do when someone close to you passes away regardless of your circumstances. With the average funeral costing nearly £4,000, many now find themselves in a position where they feel they have nowhere to turn due to such prohibitive costs.

The first thing to note is you are not alone. There is help out there and several options available to you. We’ve put together some brief information below to get you started.

Read our guide here

Planning a funeral for the first time

Planning a funeral for the first time

If you are faced with planning a funeral for the first time, it can seem really daunting, so our funeral director, Angela has outlines where to start

If you need any more help – we are a charity-run funeral directors so our priority is to support bereaved people across Scotland.

Please do get in touch:
Phone: 03000 113 311
Email: funerals@caledoniacremation.org.uk

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