Group could set up price comparison site for Dundee funeral directors

Senior citizens in the city are hoping to set up a social enterprise in a bid to tackle funeral poverty.

Dundee Pensioners’ Forum is working with churches, Dundee City Council, the credit union and the Scottish Government to provide a solution to funeral poverty for elderly people in the city.

The Rev Erik Cramb said the forum was looking at the possibility of creating a social enterprise company that will start to drive down the costs of a funeral.

He said that would be done by providing services such as cars, flowers and catering.

The group also hopes to run a comparison website on funeral directors’ charges.

Mr Cramb said: “Many of the pensioners living with the day-to-day struggle of making ends meet have, lurking in the back of their minds like the proverbial elephant in the room, the fear of the cost of their own funeral and the despair that there’s nothing they can do about it.

“For some time now, in response to these fears, Dundee Pensioners’ Forum has been conducting outreach meetings at other pensioners’ groups in churches and bowling clubs and so on at which the agenda focused on wills, powers of attorney and funeral costs.

“The Social Innovation Fund granted the Dundee group an initial £50,000 to examine the feasibility of our plan.

“We employed two workers for six months.

“Their research found statistical proof of the kind of out-of-reach costs that the pensioners’ forum had been hearing.

“For example, funeral costs in Dundee had risen by 91% since 2004, 49% of people have made no or not enough provision for their funeral and the average cost of a funeral in Dundee is currently £3,784.”

Mr Cramb said the group was now at the point of drawing up a business plan for a social enterprise and making an application to the Social Innovation Fund for a pilot scheme.

In September, the Tele reported that Dundee is the most expensive city in Scotland to have a funeral, according to research by Royal London.

Jacky Close, of Faith in the Communities, said: “There are older people in Dundee who find themselves in funeral poverty.”