East Ayrshire Council launch Respectful Funeral Service

East Ayrshire Council is taking action against funeral poverty by launching a new Respectful Funeral Service package with three highly respected local funeral directors.

The Council has committed to tackling funeral poverty and providing support and help to our communities during times of bereavement.

From 1 April 2017 our partners will offer a tailored funeral package with significant savings on the Scottish average cost for funeral director services, which currently stands at £2772.

A review of funeral poverty was commissioned by the Scottish Government in 2015 and in February 2016 the Birrell – Citizens Advice Scotland report was published. The report contained a number of recommendations to tackle funeral poverty.

This included local authorities seeking ways to reduce or limit charges; respectful and dignified funerals to be available across Scotland and the NHS to provide the bereaved with timely advice about funeral choices. After this report was published, the first funeral poverty conference was held in Edinburgh which shared best practice from across the UK.

Social Security Minister, Jeane Freeman attended the launch held at Kay Park Church in Kilmarnock. She said: “Funerals are very personal, wrapped in family and tradition, but they can also be stressful, particularly if money is tight. Local authorities can play a vital role in tackling funeral poverty, especially when working together with the private and third sector.

“I welcome the fact that East Ayrshire Council is taking positive steps to enable those in the area to plan a stress-free and affordable funeral. We are keen to encourage innovative work to address funeral poverty, and I will be interested to see how this scheme operates in practice.”

The Council investigated funeral service delivery models including Cardiff City Council’s funeral package, before working with colleagues from Procurement to develop the Respectful Funeral Service package.

The aim was to create a package that was dignified and professional but still affordable.

Councillor Douglas Reid, Leader of East Ayrshire Council said: “After a bereavement organising a funeral can seem overwhelming as family, friends and loved ones struggle with their grief.

“A funeral is deeply personal but it is important that people know that there are options available which are respectful, dignified and affordable.

“We have become partners with three highly respected local funeral directors who have committed to providing a Respectful Funeral Service package to residents of East Ayrshire.

“Funeral poverty is real. It is something we need to address and it is important that we talk openly about the cost of funerals. People need to know that there are options out there, that they can say goodbye to a loved one in a dignified way without paying large sums of money, money that many people just don’t have.

“I am very proud that we have developed this local partnership. It is a credit to our Bereavement Services team and to the local funeral directors who fully support our vision.”