The Alternative Funeral Director
With death being one of life's certainties, it's reassuring to know that there are organisations like Poppy's Funerals on hand to help us make sure we get the funeral we want.They say that there are two certainties in life: death and taxes. Although we cannot with certainty say when or how our death will come we can have a say in how we say goodbye. As an End Of Life Care provider, we understand how important it is for our customers to make sure that their ‘final farewell’ is as well supported, managed and performed as their care has been right up to the end.
That’s why it’s vital for us not only to understand how a funeral is planned and performed but also to identify service providers who embody our philosophy of always putting the customer first and providing the highest standard of service possible. In this way, we can be on hand to support the families of our customers as they make these important arrangements.
As part of this learning, we met with Poppy’s Funerals – an award winning alternative funeral director with a unique approach to funerals that enables families to organise the funeral that they or the person that has passed, would want, whilst still considering the cost.
Introducing Poppy’s Funerals
Poppy’s Funerals is the brain child of Poppy Mardall, a history of art expert by profession. She started the business in 2012 with the simple vision of giving people the creative licence to have the kind of funeral they want. By doing so, she saw that she could really make a difference in the lives of those contemplating their funeral, their family and friends at an already vulnerable time.
Just as we believe that our role as home care providers is to support our customers to live the life they want, consistently putting them in the driving seat so they can control the kind of care and support they receive, Poppy’s Funerals similarly empower their customers to have a final farewell the way that they want. There are no set rules about what a funeral should be – families can decide if they want to stick with the traditional black hearse and dress, or opt for a simpler burial or cremation with minimal input from the funeral director and anything else in between. If the deceased has left particular instructions about the funeral they would like, Poppy’s Funerals can help the family to carry these out.
In May this year, Poppy delivered a special awareness raising session for our Senior and End Of Life Care Team, in which she shared important facts that everyone should know about funeral planning and all the things that are going on in the background. This was a highly enlightening and empowering session for our Care team, tackling misconceptions and myths about funerals.
A shift in the culture and perception of funerals
According to SunLife’s annual Cost of Dying the average cost of funerals is increasing every year. London continues to be the most expensive place to die in the UK, with the average funeral costing £5,529, almost double the national average. Wandsworth borough is the 3rd most expensive place with the average funeral costing £5,076. Not only are traditional funerals becoming unaffordable for many people, they have also become a highly-institutionalised process, controlled by professionals that really don’t know us – doctors, lawyers, hospitals and crematoriums. The result is a de-personalised process that is done to us, rather than for us or by us.
This is part of the challenge that Poppy has taken on and for which she is a personal advocate. By giving people a choice in every aspect of the funeral planning Poppy hopes to bring about a shift in the culture and perception of funerals and the industry itself. Although it may seem counter-intuitive for many, one of Poppy’s main messages is that “Funeral Directors don’t know best. Families do. A good funeral director will support a family to have the funeral that is right for them.”
Equally Poppy stresses the importance of talking about your death now rather than later:
- It’s not easy to start talking about death and funerals but by being open and planning in advance the burden can be eased on your relatives so they focus on remembering you and looking after each other instead of disagreeing over funeral preparations.
- Having what you want for your funeral out in the open makes the decision making and preparation so much easier. You will be helping your loved ones through an already tough time.
- Knowing they are doing what you wanted will help to put both your and your family’s mind at rest now and in the future.