Weddings have changed beyond recognition in the last two decades to reflect preferences - a similar reinvention for funerals is long overdue
Ever rising funeral costs and increasing funeral poverty have once again dominated this year’s Royal London National Funeral Cost Index with the average cost of a funeral rising by 3% from £3,675 in 2016 to £3,784 this year.
And whilst this is only marginally above the rate of inflation, it is nonetheless a major issue causing debt levels to rise by £79 to £1,680 amongst those who struggled to meet funeral costs and funeral poverty setting a record of more than £160m an increase of around £10m on last year.
Crucially however the report also reveals the funeral industry is one in disarray with huge disparity in funeral costs even down to postcode level, varying fees from crematoriums and a shortage of burial plots.
These underlying issues within the wider funeral service landscape clearly demonstrates a need for change giving way to greater choice not just in terms of cost, but also options available.
There is already some evidence that the tide is beginning to turn with direct cremations and other ‘no frills’ options growing in popularity and on the increase however as the report highlights ‘the challenge is to ensure that awareness of these options is raised and consumers are encouraged to shop around more to find the right solution for their needs’.
At the forefront of this change is Pure Cremation the leading specialist in direct cremation, not only offering low cost cremation-only services for those that want this option, but provoking wider discussion about what a funeral should look like and what it should achieve.
Pure Cremation’s Customer Experience Director Catherine Powell commented: “Britain seems caught between the reality of an almost completely secular society and a template for the final rite of passage that originated 200 years ago. Weddings have changed beyond recognition in the last two decades to reflect preferences - a similar reinvention for funerals is long overdue.
“It is not just a question of cost and the cheapest option – it’s a question of choice and more importantly what is right for the family and the deceased.”
It is now more than 10 years since a report commissioned by the Funeralcare Forum revealed that 8 out of 10 people had a secret disappointment with the funeral they arranged for a loved one – a shocking statistic that had nothing to do with the quality of care provided and everything to do with an anxiety about whether they had “done the right thing”.
“People continue to resist talking about death and funerals, perhaps because they don’t realise the range of choices they now have. This causes both emotional and financial distress that could so easily be avoided.”
As the only provider completely dedicated to direct cremation, the team at Pure Cremation feel they have a responsibility that goes beyond simply promoting their service. Price transparency has always been a fundamental part of their approach, along with a consultative service offering clear guidance for bereaved families to help them make fully informed decisions, because they recognised that whilst direct cremation may be the right choice for many it is not for all.
They have also found a way to make a real difference to a group highlighted in the report, those applying for assistance with funeral costs.
“It is good news that the SFFEP will cover the entire cost of a direct cremation, but to further assist families we aim to do more than keeping the final cost low – we’ve found a way to reduce the risk of families falling into debt long before an award decision is made.”
This latest report is the second in as many months in which the funeral industry has come under the spotlight. In June, the Funeral Plan report published by Fairer Finance highlighted that in some cases the relatives of those who have paid for funeral plans could find themselves facing swinging costs where plans don’t cover the total costs of a funeral sometimes by as much as £2,000.
Catherine Powell continued: “The time has now come for change, not just in terms of the options available but also in attitudes. A final goodbye for a loved one is an incredibly important event and is one which should be a personal choice – not one held in a stranglehold of tradition.
“There needs to be a change in the dynamic – to empower the consumer to make an informed choice. The wedding market was transformed by the consumers who wanted to do things differently so why shouldn’t the funeral market follow its lead and enjoy a similarly positive change? This however can only happen if we can break the taboo around the topic and start the Big Conversation.”
Established by former funeral director Bryan Powell, whose pedigree spans 30 years in the funeral industry, and his wife Catherine – Pure Cremation delivers exemplary levels of personal service 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The company’s pricing system is completely transparent, with a simple fixed price cost structure to meet individual requirements.
For further details log on to https://www.purecremation.co.uk.
Editor’s Note: For further information contact Celeste Clarke at Century PR on 024 7622 8881 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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