With reports of funeral costs rising by more 70 per cent in the past ten years, Brent Council has launched a new service to help hard-pressed residents send-off their loved ones in an affordable, yet dignified way.
“The service has only been up and running to the public since June, but already we’ve had some extremely positive testimonials from the families we’ve served” says Alex Kerr, Brent Council’s
Rising costs of burying or cremating loved ones had led to increases in the number of people seeking ‘parish’ or ‘paupers’ funerals – a very basic funeral, usually for those who pass away without any family.
Brent’s new low-cost funeral service however gives bereaved friends and family the opportunity to bury or cremate their loved one in a more dignified way, at a fraction of the cost of a standard funeral.
Alex says it’s not just the price that is attracting people, it’s also the personal service he likes to offer.
“For me it starts on the phone when a family first gets in touch” Alex says. “They are grieving and it’s a very difficult time for them, so I like to make sure they get the time and attention they need to give their loved one the kind of send-off they really want.
“I’m always very clear and transparent about our prices, but I assure families that dignity, care and respect are central to our service.”
David Bounds, who used the service recently, had praise for the way Alex dealt with his cousin’s funeral.
“From the beginning I found him (Alex) to be very professional, very efficient and extremely approachable.
“Nothing seemed to be too much trouble for him and he was quickly instrumental in the lifting of the huge pressure I felt to be on my shoulders in organising my cousin's funeral.
“Alex proved to be a great asset to me and, in my opinion, this has reflected impressively on Brent Council in its desire to offer these services to the public.”
Cllr Krupa Sheth, Brent Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, said:
“We were concerned about the high cost of funerals and so introduced this new service, which caters to all faiths, as well as those of no faith.
“The actual send-off can be kept dignified and relatively basic, but there is also the option of adding more services if the family should want it.
“I’m really pleased we’ve found a way of helping our residents in what can be a very difficult time for them.”