New plans hope to bring an end to funeral poverty in Dundee

Jacky Close of Faith in the Community. Right: Eastern Cemetery.

“Simple” services at a reduced cost are among proposals aimed at making funerals more affordable for people living in Dundee.

Jacky Close, development co- ordinator with Faith in the Community, said that one idea being considered is the creation of a “respectful, simple funeral” which could be up to 40% cheaper than the average cost.

The charity works with faith communities, mainly in the poorest areas of the city.

Jacky said that about 60 people attended a consultation to discuss the issues surrounding funeral poverty.

A recent report revealed there were currently about 20 pauper’s funerals held in Dundee every year.

At an average cost of £3,833, funerals in Dundee are the most expensive in Scotland.

The Funeral Poverty Action Group is developing a range of “solutions” to help families in financial need following the death of a loved one.

Jacky said: “A variety of possible solutions were considered. These included adopting a scheme similar to one in East Ayrshire, where some funeral directors offer what is called a respectful, simple funeral that can be anything from 25%-40% cheaper that the normal cost.”

Jacky said representatives of city undertakers were to be asked their views. Ways of providing overall assistance to bereaved families are also being considered, as well as proposals to ensure families are made aware of what financial assistance is available.

She said: “We need a change of direction in how people approach funerals.

“People across the board can face funeral poverty and we need to get people to consider various options.

“A funeral can be organised any way a family wants it — there is no set formula about how it should be, but people should look at what is meaningful to them.

“We want to continue to raise awareness about this issue and we want families to be aware there are various groups in the city they can turn to for help.”

Diane Cameron, business developer of the Funeral Poverty Action Group, said: “This was a fantastic event, really well attended by stakeholders across the city with lots of engagement and a strong desire to find a solution here in Dundee.

“The general consensus was we need Dundee City Council to consider introducing a similar scheme to the one in East Ayrshire. It was also suggested we set up a one-stop shop service to support people at the time of bereavement. We also want to create affordable financial options and increase communication to encourage funeral planning.”

The group said the average costs of a burial plot in Dundee is £1,304, internment costs £545 while a cremation cost is £1,070.

A Dundee City Council spokeswoman confirmed that representatives attended the meeting and that the council is investigating the East Ayrshire scheme.

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