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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.


Scottish funeral prices are too high according to most Scots

Scottish funeral prices are too high according to most Scots

We commissioned some research* earlier this year to investigate Scot’s views on and knowledge of funerals and funeral prices. The results found that:

  • At £6,535 for a funeral and send-off, 82% of those surveyed thought this price was too high
  • 86% supported the funding of a funeral advice line to help bereaved families arranging a funeral and also to advise them on ways to keep their funeral prices down.
  • 72% said that they would prefer to arrange a funeral through a not-for-profit funeral directors like Caledonia Cremation
  • 56% would consider a direct cremation for their own funeral

Like us, most Scots are in favour of a new way when it comes to funerals.

Our hope is that more people begin to understand that there is a choice and they don’t have to take out a funeral debt they can’t afford to pay back.

On 27th April 2021, we were invited to discuss the poll with BBC Radio Scotland and you can listen to that interview below


*A representative poll of 600 Scottish people undertaken in November 2020.

Caledonia Cremation supported me through three bereavements

Over the past 2 years, we have supported Marlyn through three family bereavements. In this blog, she kindly shares why she trusted us to assist her through these times.

For more information on organising a funeral or planning your own, contact Scotland’s only not-for-profit funeral directors – Caledonia Cremation. You can call our team on 03000 113 31 or email us on



The cost of a basic funeral is higher than ever before.

The cost of a basic funeral is higher than ever before.

Sunlife’s Cost of Dying Report 2021 has found that the cost currently stands at £4,184*, up 1.7% since 2019, when it was £4,115. And since 2004, the average funeral costs have risen 128% since 2004.

As a campaigner against funeral poverty, this is a very concerning but all too familiar trend.

We believe that one reason people feel they have to pay these high prices is that there is no other option.

However there are alternatives that are dignified, more personal AND much less expensive.

Our advice is to take a moment to consider your options when organising a funeral or considering end-of-life planning

We offer direct cremation, which is sometimes described as a modern alternative. It provides the bereaved with the opportunity to organise a more personal send-off in a time-frame that is more suitable for them.

Direct cremation won’t be for everyone, but if you would like to discuss options that are open to you, then please do give us a call. We are a charity owned and operated, not-for-profit funeral directors, so our priority is your wellbeing – not profit.

Please do get in touch – 03000 11 33 11 or email

*Sunlife average funeral cost is now weighted by the proportion of burials and cremations in the UK. They have updated the previous years’ figures to reflect this change in our calculation.

Everyone deserves the right to say goodbye to their loved one regardless of their financial circumstances

Everyone deserves the right to say goodbye to their loved one regardless of their financial circumstances

Would you like to help us end funeral poverty in Scotland?

In 2018 , the anti-poverty charity Community Renewal set up a not-for-profit funeral directors – Caledonia Cremation – to help bereaved people across Scotland who were prevented from saying their goodbyes due to huge funeral costs.

Funeral poverty is a real issue throughout Scotland and as funeral costs rise year after year. it means that one in seven are forced into debt following a bereavement, putting added strain on grieving families. When you imagine that the average cost of a funeral in Scotland is now £6,535, of which £4,229 is paid to the funeral director, you can see how this can have a devastating impact on families at the worst possible time.

Caledonia Cremation is committed to providing a dignified and caring solution. As well as providing not-for-profit direct cremations, we also offer practical and emotional support to everyone who contacts us.

To help us support as many people as we possibly can, we are reaching out to kind-hearted fundraisers to consider choosing Caledonia Cremation as their chosen charity.

Whether its the virtual Kiltwalk, Ride the North or the Great Scottish Run, by selecting Caledonia Cremation, you will be helping people like Linda…

Linda’s Story

Linda had been paying in instalments for her mother’s funeral, which had been two years prior when her brother died unexpectedly.

Working part-time in a minimum wage care role, and with a young family to care of, she had no spare money or savings and was not eligible for government financial support. The stress was giving Linda sleepless nights and required her to seek help from her GP.

Caledonia Cremation promised to help her and immediately carried out her brother’s cremation and also linked Linda with financial and practical support available to her.

We now need YOUR help so we can support more people like Linda.
Everyone deserves to say their goodbyes without the additional worry of financial stress

If you have any questions about raising money for Caledonia Cremation, then please do get in touch. Call 03000 113 311 or Email

If fundraising events aren’t your thing but you would like to show your support then you can make a one off donation here

Thank you so much

Why end of life planning is so important

Barbara Chalmers is the founder of Final Fling & Only Human

In this frank discussion, we explore why it is so important to start thinking about end of life plans and bust a few myths along the way.

As Scotland’s only charity-run funeral directors, we are happy to discuss our funeral plans anytime. We are not-for-profit, so there is absolutely no pressure – we are here to help.

Call our team on 03000 113 311 or email us on


Thanks to a very generous donor, Linda could say her goodbyes

Thanks to a very generous donor, Linda could say her goodbyes

Caledonia Cremation was set up 3 years ago to fight funeral poverty by providing not-for-profit dignified cremations across mainland Scotland.

However not everyone who chooses us does so because of financial reasons. The fact that we exclusively offer direct cremation appeals to a broad variety of people. For example, some don’t want a traditional funeral; some want more time to plan a more personal goodbye and some live overseas and need a way to repatriate their loved one.

And for some of these people, our ethos of supporting those facing funeral poverty, really strikes a chord with them. As a result, they want to support us even further by making a cash donation when they pay their bill.

One such case is Julie* who chose us to arrange her mother’s funeral. When it came to payment, they paid double so they could cover the cost for someone else who may otherwise struggle.

At that time a lady called Linda* was referred to us a by a charitable organisation. She had recently lost her mother and was still paying back a loan that she had taken out to pay for the huge funeral bill she incurred. When we met Linda, her brother had passed away and she had no idea how she was going to pay for another funeral.

“We didn’t have any savings, we just work month to month to pay our bills and live basically. We didn’t have any money at all.”

As Linda worked as a cleaner, she wasn’t eligible for the Funeral Support Payment but thanks to the unbelievable generosity of Julie, we were able to carry out the cremation of her brother

If you would like to support someone like Linda, then you can donate here

A show of support, no matter what the value, will help alleviate the unbearable worry experienced by those facing funeral poverty.

Thank you.


*Names changed to protect the privacy of those involved

What is a funeral?



The pressure to provide one type of funeral can push many into funeral debt.

Is it time to re-think what a funeral is?

The more “newsworthy” alternative funerals often make the headlines – but that isn’t what we mean here. It can be subtle wee changes that make it more personal and useful to your process of saying goodbye.

In this chat with Barbara Chalmers (founder of Final Fling and Only Human), we explore what a funeral is and what it can/should be.

Caledonia Cremation is Scotland’s only charity-run funeral directors. We provide not-for-profit direct cremation across mainland Scotland.
Interested in direct cremation? Then call our team on 03000 113 311 or email us on

Why I chose Caledonia Cremation for my own funeral

Why I chose Caledonia Cremation for my own funeral

Fiona has recently registered her wishes with us. Fiona is religious and enjoys helping people and attending social gatherings. Here she explains why she has chosen Direct Cremation….

“I have never liked being centre of attention during my lifetime and I don’t want that to change after my death either! Also, in my experience of attending cremation services (religious or secular), they fail to provide comfort and seldom honour the person satisfactorily. I do not want anyone to feel the emptiness that I have had on leaving the chapel of a crematorium…within 30 minutes of arriving, of course!

The Caledonia Cremation Register of Wishes form helped to guide thoughts regarding what may have previously been the unthinkable and provided a useful start point towards creating a written document to record all details concerning desired funeral arrangements and avoid any misunderstandings or stress to those left behind.

Throughout my life, spirituality, helping others, music and social gatherings have been important to me and all those elements have been incorporated into my Register of Wishes. My hope is that the spiritual and social arrangements made will result in both a meaningful and enjoyable celebration of life to take place.

I would like attendees to have a positive spiritual experience, but this is not conditional on them recognising my religious beliefs! “

Anyone interested in pre-planning their funeral can get in touch – 03000 113 311


Interested in reading another blog post? Click here

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 – (

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.

If you need to organise a funeral for a loved one now, then you can find out more here

If you want to plan for your own funeral, then you can find more information here

We are here for you, so please do get in touch:
By phone 03000 113 311
By email

*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.

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