The Children’s Funeral Fund was launched by the Government on 23 July 2019. A year later – on the Fund’s first anniversary – Co-op Funeralcare announced that almost 3,000 bereaved families had already accessed funding to help pay for their child’s funeral.
The Children’s Funeral Fund – Key points
Certain criteria need to be met in order to access the Children’s Funeral Fund. To be eligible, a child must be under 18 at the time of death or stillborn after the 24th week of pregnancy. The burial or cremation must take place in England. (Both the Scottish and Welsh Governments have their own schemes to help families financially. At the time of writing, Northern Ireland does not.)
The residency and nationality of the child doesn’t have a bearing nor does the financial situation of the parents. Reimbursements of certain associated funeral expenses include £300 towards the price of a coffin.
The costs can be directly reclaimed by the burial or cremation provider, so parents should not have the additional upset of receiving a bill or having to complete lots of paperwork to make a claim. If a parent is receiving certain benefit payments then costs falling outside the remit of the Children’s Funeral Fund might be covered by a Funeral Expenses Payment. The Government’s website contains lots more information.
Thousands have been helped
Thank goodness the Children’s Funeral Fund is now in place. Prior to the fund being established, some Funeral Directors allowed their funeral policies to be extended free of charge so that they would help meet the costs of a child’s funeral. However, there were many parents who found themselves unable to provide the funeral service and grave marker that they wanted. There are many fantastic charities up and down the country that still have to help those most in need.
According to Government statistics, there are around 2,700 stillbirths each year and an estimated 3,800 children die every year before reaching their 18th birthday. Funerals are not cheap and it is surely a basic human right for parents to be able to commemorate the life of their child in a manner they see fitting.
Striving to help
As a coffin manufacturer, we talk to many bereaved families and it is particularly heart-wrenching to hear stories from parents.
Bereaved families are welcome to come here to help to weave a willow coffin for a loved one. It really isn’t as strange as it may sound. Many find the weaving process cathartic. It is a way to make a really positive contribution. We are happy to show people how our willow is grown in an environmentally friendly way before being sorted by hand. Our weavers are an incredibly skilled and friendly bunch. They have shown people of all ages how to weave parts of a coffin. (Some families visit our farm for an hour or two, others spend the day here.)
Often, parents will choose to incorporate their child’s favourite colour into the coffin design. More often than not, special keepsakes are requested. We make a range from sustainably sourced oak and also use our willow to create special mementos.
The key is that the coffin is incredibly personal. It is unique and beautiful. Sentiments we often hear from bereaved families about the one they have lost.