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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.


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

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