24 MAR 2017

Local action on supporting bereaved parents

MP welcomes Co-op move on Child Funeral Costs

Maidstone and the Weald MP Helen Grant visited the Maidstone branch of Co-op Funeralcare in Union Street last week and met Branch Manager Steve Thompson. The purpose of her visit was to express thanks for their pledge to launch a new free child funeral policy, extending up to 18 years of age. This follows calls to the Chancellor, from Helen and other MPs, to introduce a children's funeral fund for bereaved families in the Budget.

Due to the often sudden or unexpected nature of the loss of a child, funding both funeral director services and third party costs can leave many bereaved parents in a difficult position financially. The Co-op estimates that the extension of its child funerals policy up to age 18 will support thousands of bereaved families across the UK.

This is a particular issue in Mrs Grant's constituency of Maidstone and the Weald and the South East as a whole. With funerals in the region costing on average £4,090, this is 5% higher than the national average. This figure has increased by 13.5% in the last four years alone. Helen is calling on Maidstone Borough Council to work with her to see if there is anything more they can offer to offset some of the third party costs associated with funerals, such as burial sites or cremations.

Helen said, 'I very much welcome the move by Co-op Funeralcare to increase their funding of children's funerals. I would urge other providers in this industry to introduce a similar policy to support families. I am pleased that Maidstone Borough Council already offer reduced prices for families who suffer the loss of a young child but have asked to meet with them to discuss if there is anything further they can do to support bereaved families in their time of need.'

Richard Lancaster CEO of Co-op Funeralcare said 'Dealing with the death of a child is a devastating experience for any parent and having to comprehend this as well as sorting out the funeral and associated costs makes this experience even more traumatic. We hope that others will now improve and extend their own policies on child funeral costs, meaning that funding support across the UK goes much further to assist bereaved parents.'

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