Posted by Ali Cloak, Senior Associate
The new Children’s Funeral Fund: what is it and who does it help?
New Government funding announced last month means that no local authority will now be able to charge parents for the burial or cremation of children who have passed away.
This announcement follows a 28-year campaign by the MP Carolyn Harris and means that parents who are in the devastating position of losing their child will not have to struggle financially to provide their child with a dignified and respectful funeral.
The Prime Minister, Theresa May, has established a Children’s Funeral Fund for England, which will cover the cost of the burial or cremation of children under the age of 18.
The announcement comes a year after the Welsh government introduced a similar fund, at a time when funeral costs have doubled over the past ten years leaving many families struggling to afford to bury their loved ones.
Some action had already been taken across the country to assist grieving parents – for example, some local authorities already waived the cremation and burial fees for children, and some clergy or funeral directors did not charge for services for children. However, these funds ensure that compassion is consistent for all families across England and Wales.
Carolyn Harris began campaigning for more financial support for grieving parents in 1989 after her young son Martin sadly lost his life in a car accident.
After his death, the MP, who was then a dinner lady and barmaid, had to take out a loan to be able to pay for Martin’s funeral. Other organisations such as Fair Funerals and CLIC Sargent have campaigned alongside her.
Carolyn has said of the announcement “families right across the United Kingdom can know that if they’re ever in that terrible, terrible position when they lose a child, that there will now be a pot of money available to make sure that child has a dignified and respectful funeral.”
The announcement also follows the recent Parental Bereavement (Pay and Leave) Bill which is going through Parliament which is intended to give all parents who have lost a child under 18 years old a legal entitlement to paid parental leave for at least two weeks.
This new fund is a welcome move to ensure compassionate support is consistent across the country for all grieving parents, giving them one less concern during a difficult time.
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