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.
We are delighted to partner with The Fuze Foundation to provide free of charge funeral celebrant services to bereaved families experiencing hardship.
Caledonia Cremation and our funeral advice line, Caledonia Funeral Aid were set up to support bereaved people across Scotland, especially those facing funeral poverty.
We are passionate about working with like-minded organisations so we can increase the type of support we offer, and are delighted to partner with The Fuze Foundation. They provide celebrant services at no cost to those experiencing financial hardship or terminal illness.
We have already called on their services to support bereaved people who have reached out to us for help, and will continue to do so for anyone who wants that kind of support.
Morag Webster, Chair of The Fuze Foundation adds,
“Partnering with Caledonia Funeral Aid to provide free of charge funeral celebrant services to the bereaved families they support, is such a natural step for us and supports one of our key purposes of fighting funeral poverty and supporting families in need.
We are committed to continually campaigning to eradicate funeral poverty and share so many values with both of these organisations. In particular, we love how transparent they are when signposting clients to essential knowledge about planning and arranging a funeral. We are looking forward to long and successful partnership.”
Everyone deserves a dignified and caring goodbye, regardless of their financial circumstances, and thanks to our partnership with The Fuze Foundation, we are even better able to achieve that for bereaved people across Scotland
More about The Fuze Foundation and Ceremonies
Fuze Foundation was established in 2012 to tackle the growing epidemic of funeral poverty head on. They have provided hundreds of funeral, and other ceremony types, free of charge for those in need and financially stretched. The Fuze Foundation also offers not-for-profit Legal Humanist Marriages in Scotland, through Fuze Ceremonies, and campaigns for equality, diversity, and social justice.
Fuze Ceremonies have a team of 60 professionally qualified, disclosure checked and fully insured celebrants operating across the length and breadth of Scotland. Couples who choose a Humanist Wedding Ceremony conducted by Fuze are supporting their ongoing give-back to good causes, as a donation from their fee is gifted to their Fuze Foundation.
These donations, along with their fundraising efforts, help them to provide celebrant services at no cost. They also never charge for children’s celebrant funeral services.
Their team passionately engage and promote 5 key purposes:
Purpose 1: Promoting Humanism
Purpose 2: Embracing Diversity and Inclusivity
Purpose 3: Promoting Religious Harmony
Purpose 4: To Fight Funeral Poverty & Support Families in Need
Purpose 5: Supporting Charities
Caledonia Cremation is owned and operated by the Scottish anti-poverty charity Community Renewal Trust and as a such, we are committed to doing our bit to create a better Scotland, including taking care of the planet
However, we are mindful that the average cremation uses 28 gallons of fuel, emitting around 540 pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
So here is how we are striving to deliver greener funerals and become carbon negative:
- Although we provide not-for-profit funerals nationwide, we do not have a multitude of offices scattered throughout Scotland, operating many vehicles. We limit our travel to collection of the deceased only, and work from one centralised place, operating by phone or online.
- We exclusively offer direct cremation, which is better for the environment than a traditional cremation.
- We use sustainably sourced wood for our coffins.
- We use the country’s cleanest crematorium, Clyde Coast & Garnock Valley Crematorium. They also offer to plant a tree in honour of those who have been cremated there.
- We are now offering our customers the opportunity to offset any remaining carbon footprint by purchasing a £20 carbon credit. This will fund tree planting, greenhouse gas emission reduction projects, and help foster energy conservation efforts. Please note this is not compulsory and only for those who specifically want this service.
If you have any questions on this – or anything else – please do get in touch 03000 11 33 11
We are delighted to announce that Sharpscot have listed us as one of Glasgow’s 5 Top-Recommended Cremation Services.
They considered customer service, value, rates and packages when making their decision
Despite being listed in the Glasgow category we are keen to point out that we serve the whole of mainland Scotland – but we are very grateful for being listed nevertheless
Caledonia Funeral Aid is looking for compassionate and organised people to join our friendly team in providing practical and emotional support to recently bereaved people across Scotland.
Caledonia Funeral Aid is a social enterprise owned and operated by the Scottish anti-poverty charity Community Renewal Trust Our vision is for a Scotland where everyone can afford a dignified funeral, personal to their needs. We offer free support to members of the public or those who work with bereaved people who have experienced a loss – all with a focus on those facing funeral poverty. We are now looking to extend the team so we can help even more people facing a very difficult time in their lives. Although this may sound like a difficult role to take on, the work is both important and rewarding. Dealing with a bereavement can be an overwhelming and distressing experience, especially when finances are an issue, so the clients we support really do appreciate having us to turn to during these tough times.
The volunteer Funeral and Bereavement guides would carry out the some of the tasks below.
Please note that full training will be provided and we would link you to the task you would feel most comfortable:
- Represent Caledonia Funeral Aid at various events or activities including drop-in sessions, death cafes or workshops. These may be events arranged by us or by other agencies working with disadvantaged people.
- Discuss Caledonia Funeral Aid and the work we do with members of the public, answering questions, and providing information and advice.
- Assisting with the administration, organisation, attendance and booking of events in your local area (e.g. Death cafés)
- Manning our 24-hour phone service, for short periods where you are available, triaging urgent calls related to bereavement, funerals, or poverty
- Helping us to get our message out using publicity materials provided
- Are you able to offer at least a half day per week for some weeks and commit to volunteering for at least a year?
- Are you confident talking to people from all backgrounds who may be struggling to cope with a recent bereavement?
- Are you organised and reliable?
- Are you an empathetic and non-judgemental listener?
- Do you have good IT skills?
- Are you able to attend events in person (reasonable travel expenses will be paid)
If you answered yes to any of the questions, above and you feel you may be suitable to volunteer with us, then please do drop us a line then please do drop us a line and we can have an informal chat about the role – no pressure
If you have any questions at all, then please do feel free to contact Emma or Jan for further details by calling 03000 113311 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
When you think of a funeral – most think of a coffin, covered in flowers, driven in a hearse to a church or crematorium filled with mourners.
And for some people, that feels right.
But for others – that isn’t what they want for themselves or their loved one, but unfortunately, those people have felt like there isn’t any other option for a long time.
Times are now changing, and funerals are changing with them, which is good news!
Some people are passionate that as little money as possible is spent on their funeral.
Others prefer to focus on celebrating the person’s life, rather than making the funeral ceremony the focus of the goodbye.
More bereaved Scots are environmentally conscious now, and are committed to making their funeral as “green” as possible.
A lot of people want the goodbye to be personalised and as unique as the person they are saying goodbye to.
Where to start
Caledonia Funeral Aid is committed to providing free, impartial advice to end-of-life planners and those faced with organising a funeral.
We have a team who can empower you to make the right decision for you. You can contact them on 03000 113301 or email email@example.com
Don’t ever feel pressurised to make a decision that isn’t right for you or the deceased. If you need support, Caledonia Funeral Aid is here to help, so get in touch.
As the cost of dying has reached £9,200, we are urging bereaved Scots to seek help before paying.
The recent news that the overall cost of dying has increased to well over £9,000 will be making a lot of people worry how they will pay, should a loved one pass away without any financial plans in place.
However, the Sunlife Cost of Dying Report 2023 has found the cost of a basic funeral has dropped by 0.6% to £3.953 in Scotland. This appears to be partly the result of the growing acceptability of simpler funerals and direct cremations.
Despite this, we are still advising bereaved people to contact us for support, before resorting to drastic measures such as using loan sharks, fundraising, or selling possessions.
Our co-founder and chair John Halliday explains why:
“Despite the glimmer of good news here, our relentless fight to try to push down funeral prices will need to continue. It is harder than ever for people facing a cost-of-living crisis to find even the money for a basic funeral.
We are particularly concerned about the growing problem of funeral directors requiring deposits – we have heard time and time again people turned away from every funeral directors because they don’t have the hundreds or thousands of pounds of cash required for the initial deposit. Others take on a huge debt they can’t afford because they feel like there is no alternative. Indeed, the report has found that there has been a rise in the number of people taking out a debt to pay for the funeral.
At Caledonia Funeral Aid, we provide free advice on how to organise and pay for a funeral, what financial help is available and how to cope with a recent bereavement.
We offer simple, dignified and cremations through our not-for-profit funeral directors Caledonia Cremation, which we set up in 2018 to support those facing funeral poverty.”
With demand for our services anticipated to continue in the current financial climate, we are issuing an urgent callout to the public for help:
“We are charity-owned, so only have finite resources. So, we are looking for kind-hearted Scots to join our team as volunteer funeral and bereavement guides. It may sound daunting, but the work we do is both important and rewarding. Dealing with a bereavement can be an overwhelming and distressing experience, especially when finances are an issue, so the clients we support really do appreciate having us to turn to, during these tough times.
So, if you are bereaved or looking to make a real difference to people’s lives, please do call our advice line now 03000 113301. Our team are compassionate, friendly and will be there for you for as long as it takes.”
Our interview with Good Morning Scotland Tue 17 January 2023
For charities, advice providers and care workers
Wednesday 8th February 2023
12 noon – 1.30pm
Caledonia Funeral Aid is a new, not-for-profit, organisation set up specifically to address the issue of funeral poverty for the people of Scotland.
We are offering a free online workshop suitable for any staff member who may find themselves asked to advise clients or members of the public about planning and paying for a funeral.
We will look at typical costs, how to pay for them and what help might be available for those people who are experiencing funeral poverty or hardship.
If you, or your colleagues, would like to attend this training, please register your interest in the first instance by contacting us at Caledonia@funerals.scot. Or you can also call us on during office hours on 03000 113301 to discuss this or any other funeral query you may have.
Caledonia Funeral Aid* is a charity owned and operated social enterprise.
Our vision is for a Scotland where everyone can afford a dignified funeral, personal to their needs.
We offer free support to members of the public or those who work with bereaved people who have experienced a loss.
Advice and support we offer:
• How to pay for a funeral
• How to organise a funeral
• How to cope with a recent bereavement
• End of life planning
Our team are compassionate, friendly and will help you for as long as it takes, so please do give them a call 03000 11 33 01 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Help us to support those facing funeral poverty
With the average cost of a basic funeral sitting at £4,000, we receive calls from many people, especially those experiencing in-work poverty or students, who just can’t afford that amount. They don’t qualify for financial help and have nowhere to turn. We never turn anyone away and through the fundraising efforts of Caledonia Funeral Aid, we hope to extend our help to even more bereaved Scots nationwide.
We accept donations through our website and our team are also doing all the Kiltwalk this year so anyone wo wants to help us support more bereaved Scots can do so here
*Caledonia Funeral Aid CIC is a social enterprise managed by Community Renewal Trust
The cost-of-living crisis has made many headlines recently. But there was already a cost of dying crisis forcing bereaved families into unmanageable debt and emotional distress. Every day our organisation sees families across Scotland who simply can’t afford to say goodbye. People need to be warned that it is only going to get worse.
On losing his beloved wife, CS Lewis famously reflected on the similarity of the emotions of grief and abject fear. Overwhelming. Incapacitating. Unshakable. While we all experience it differently, times of bereavement are often our hardest days. Yet like so much in society, there is vast inequality. Some people face the trauma of poverty – selling their possessions, begging loans from neighbours, or entering high-interest credit card debt. Death is not, perhaps, the “great leveller” but rather a driver of terrible inequality.
When Emma (not her real name) lost her mother, she did what has been normal for centuries: she popped to the local funeral director. Emma was shocked to be quoted over £3,200 for a simple cremation. Just the deposit needed to discuss the details would be £800.
Like most Scots, Emma only discovered that we are in the midst of the worst ever cost of dying crisis when she was already responsible for arranging a funeral herself. In fact, the average price of a basic funeral – without flowers, food, limo, venue hirer or other extras – is £4056**, that is almost double the price a decade ago*.
Royal London’s Funeral Cost Index Report 2019 found that those in their lowest income bracket spent 65% of their annual income on a funeral, compared to 3% for those in the most affluent income bracket (over £150,000)***. Added to the current cost of living crisis – how can these people realistically cope in 2022?
I know about Emma as she came to Caledonia Cremation, a charity-run funeral directors which is part of Caledonia Funeral Aid. Fortunately, for Emma we were able to both help her without any deposit, and she secured some Government funding for a simpler cremation without the ceremony taking place at the crematorium. This still gave her the chance to say goodbye and scatter the ashes but without the expense.
Sadly, countless others, especially the working poor, are not entitled to the relevant funeral benefits or decide they still need to have a more traditional funeral, despite the cost. Some of these people are then upsold extras by funeral directors under pressure to give their loved one “the send off they deserve”, or worse have huge delays while they find enough money for a deposit. I’ll always remember one orphaned student we worked with when we set up in 2018 whose father was left in a morgue for months because students fall between the cracks of the benefits system. This remains an issue despite the recent introduction of a more generous and better administered Funeral Support Payment from Scottish Government.
Some people in poverty do turn to Local Authority funerals– but the standards vary widely depending on which Local Authority you fall under. For example, a report by Royal London found that 21 local councils do not return ashes to bereaved families after a public health funeral****- Just heart-breaking. I am always desperate to help them better listen to bereaved families in how they approach this mandatory council service. It is hard; but we can do more as a society.
As part of a charity, we can only help a limited number of people with the donations we receive. Our hope long-term is that the increasing regulation of the industry creates a better offer for people facing funeral poverty without inadvertently further driving up prices. But unless there is government subsidy of gas prices or funerals, we fully expect cremation prices to rise steeply next year.
If you are worried for your own cost of dying, then our advice is simple: plan ahead by talking about your funeral wishes with someone now before it is too late. Perhaps over dinner. Perhaps in a letter. Let them know if you want something specific, something elaborate or, like myself, just something low-key and personal.
John Halliday – CEO of the anti-poverty charity Community Renewal Trust and Chair of Caledonia Funeral Aid CIC.
*Sunlife Cost of Dying Report 2012
**Sunlife Cost of Dying 2022 Report Includes that 22% use a credit card to pay for a funeral, 10% borrowed money from a loan provider, 16% sold belongings.
***Royal London National Funeral Cost Index Report 2019
**** Royal London Public Health funeral report 2019
Funeral Poverty Adviser & Funeral Arranger
Closing 26 May 2022
Caledonia Funeral Aid CIC is a social enterprise and part of the anti-poverty charity Community Renewal Trust. Our vision is for a Scotland where everyone can afford a dignified funeral, personal to their needs. Currently we know thousands of bereaved Scottish families fall into deep funeral poverty which adds to their trauma and suffering at the worst possible time.
Part of our work is to act as a funeral directors, offering simple dignified caring direct cremations with high-quality service and an affordable price. This is done primarily as a telephone service and involves us collaborating with partner funeral directors and crematoria.
Caledonia Funeral Aid CIC also provides advice on funeral practicalities, funerals costs and the emotional toll of a funeral through a support helpline, online resources and community events for people who have recently experienced bereavement. Increasingly we are also seeking to provide community workshops, events and meetings for people who may in future face funeral poverty to seek to reduce this. We are hoping that these aspects of our work can increasingly be delivered through volunteers but we are aware that these volunteers need careful recruitment, training and support.
This is expected to be one of a small number of posts each sharing the delivery of all aspects of Caledonia Funeral Aid CIC and Caledonia Cremation. We do not require you to bring complete knowledge about funerals and funeral poverty but rather to draw on our existing knowledge, be both thorough and caring, and quickly build connections/expertise.
Our mission is ending funeral poverty. The key aspect of this role is to provide advice through our telephone helpline, through online resources, through social media and through other enquires. This advice will be about funeral practicalities, funeral costs and the emotional toll of funerals. Signposting people to claim funeral benefits/grants is one part of this, but a larger part is compassionate listening. We increasingly also wish to use community events/workshops help prevent funeral poverty occurring.
Another key aspect of the role is providing funeral director services in which you will make arrangements with the family/friends of a deceased person to conduct a direct cremation funeral. You will then be involved in sub-contracting with partners to fulfil different aspects of this including the recovery, care for, storage and transport of the deceased person. Please note that we are not a traditional funeral director, indeed most of your role will be conducted working at home. However, you may have some limited involvement in recovery, care for, storage and transport, mostly to understand the process – you will never be involved in this routinely. You will be on a rota to respond to occasional out-of-hours urgent calls (sometimes overnight) from people with an emergency situation.
In this role of funeral arranging, you will need to use email, post and telephone to: listen to people’s needs, provide holistic support, take payments, arrange a formal contract and record evidence of decisions/authorisation in our secure online Management Information System. Communicating clearly, compassionately and punctually between all parties involved in the funeral at all times is absolutely vital.
Application closing date: 12noon 26/05/2022
Please read the full job description. Apply with a CV and covering letter, Your covering letter must focus on whether you meet the essential and desirable criteria in the person specification. Send application to the Chair email@example.com.
Interviews will be held on 30 May and 1 June – please keep at least one hour free on each of these dates.