A more affordable, meaningful funeral.
In 2010, Quaker Social Action took a risk to set up a pioneering project.
We wanted to support people already struggling to make ends meet. For anyone in this situation, the sudden expense of a bereavement often puts an unbearable strain on already stretched household finances.
We knew though that a more affordable funeral was only half the goal. A funeral also has to be meaningful. In the words of the poet and undertaker, Thomas Lynch:
"A GOOD FUNERAL GETS THE DEAD WHERE THEY NEED TO GO AND THE LIVING WHERE THEY NEED TO BE."
THOMAS LYNCH - POET AND UNDERTAKER
Long term rising funeral costs
Funeral prices have more than doubled since 2004. The average cost for a 'basic' funeral now stands at a staggering £4,184 (SunLife, 2021), and 9% of people faced with organising a funeral struggle to pay without taking on debt (Royal London, 2020). Due to these high costs, for those who struggle to pay, the average debt they take on stands at £1,751 (Royal London, 2020).
There are three key factors behind the rise of funeral poverty:
- The funeral industry is unregulated with prices varying dramatically from one funeral director to the next
- And so, as most bereaved people do not shop around, they often end up paying above the odds
- Existing Government support is also inadequate and has been for years, leaving people with a huge shortfall to make up.
“EVERYONE ELSE I PHONED SAID “NO I CAN’T HELP” OR DIDN’T EVEN GET BACK TO ME. YOU WERE THE ONLY ONE WHO TOLD ME EXACTLY WHAT I NEEDED TO DO.
DOWN TO EARTH SERVICE USER
Since 2010, Quaker Social Action has run Down to Earth, the only UK-wide service for people struggling with funeral costs. We’re there for people in the depths of grief, providing compassionate support to help them reduce costs and raise money from government and charitable sources. Since Down to Earth began, we’ve supported over 6,000 people across the UK struggling with funeral costs.
We also share insights and the voices of the people we support, campaigning for change to ensure that everyone can afford a dignified funeral.