Facing up to funeral poverty

Funeral poverty is “almost too awful to even want to think about” but that is exactly what more than 30 people did on 14 April, at a workshop on ‘Facing up to Funeral Poverty’.

Church Action on Poverty and Quaker Social Action (QSA) co-hosted the event. QSA’s Heather Kennedy, the UK’s first dedicated funeral poverty campaigner, led a lively discussion. Here’s her report on the event:

Delegates from the funeral industry, the Department of Work and Pensions, Citizen’s Advice Bureau, NHS, Macmillan, Age UK East London, St Joseph’s Hospice, the Natural Death Centre, the National Bereavement Alliance, the University of York, the Quaker community, Quaker Social Action’s Down to Earth project, and Together Creating Communities, engaged in thinking about funeral poverty together.

Facing Up to Funeral PovertyWith many household incomes shrinking, and the price of funerals, health and social care on the rise, attendees recognised that the issue of funeral poverty calls for urgent action from charities, communities, the funeral industry and government.

Despite the bleak picture at present, discussion focused on positive solutions to the cost of dying crisis.  Attendees shared, and debated, ideas on:

  • raising public awareness of affordable and yet dignified and meaningful funerals;
  • making the benefits system around paying for funerals more effective;
  • creating workable saving plans to engage people in thinking ahead;
  • working with the funeral industry to provide transparent pricing and a ‘simple’ funeral offer;
  • encouraging community involvement in funerals.

I was moved by the feeling in the room. It gave me a real sense of a shared passion and commitment to creating a society where everyone has access to a meaningful, affordable funeral.  I’m already working on the next stage where I hope that together we can begin to make some real changes.

If you or your organisation are interested in finding out more about funeral poverty please click here to download our funeral poverty briefing.

If you or your organisation would like to find out about how to get involved, please click here to email Heather Kennedy.


Food, Fuel, FinanceChurch Action on Poverty is working with QSA on funeral poverty as part of our ‘Food, Fuel, Finance’ programme – tackling the Poverty Premium which people on low incomes are forced to pay for essential goods and services.

1 thought on “Facing up to funeral poverty

  1. Pingback: Tackling the Poverty Premium: funeral poverty | A Fair Say

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