Bereavement Support


Advice and information about arranging a funeral, including bereavement services 

We understand that arranging a funeral can be a difficult experience that nobody wants to go through. The Citizens Advice website has a wealth of information that will support you along the way.

The Good Grief Trust The Good Grief Trust provides help, information and advice for the bereaved all in one place  – it is a portal that signposts the bereaved to the best source of help and is the only service that provides a single point of contact. Website: (external link)

Most funerals are arranged through a funeral director. Find one who belongs to one of the professional associations, such as the National Association of Funeral Directors – NAFD or the Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors – SAIF. These associations have codes of practice and complaints procedures. Some local authorities also run their own funeral services by arrangement with a local firm of funeral directors.

You can arrange a funeral without a funeral director. If you want to do this, the Natural Death Centre (external link) or Cemeteries and Crematorium department of your local authority can offer help and guidance. Alternatively, contact us on 01323 443400 to arrange an appointment and we can offer you our advise and expertise.

Once you’ve chosen the funeral, you should be given a written estimate giving a breakdown of all of the costs involved. Ask for one if it’s not provided.

If you want to compare costs, you can contact other funeral directors, or ask someone else to help you with this.

A basic funeral is likely to include:

  • a plain, lined coffin
  • transport of the body of the person who has died to the funeral director’s premises, usually up to ten miles from wherever the death occurred
  • the care of the person who has died until the funeral. This will include washing and dressing the person who has died and laying the body out, but will not include embalming
  • providing a hearse to take the body to the nearest crematorium or burial ground
  • providing the necessary people to carry the coffin
  • making all other necessary arrangements, for example, getting the required forms

Other services funeral directors could provide, or which you may want to sort out elsewhere are:

  • flowers
  • a more expensive coffin and fittings
  • press notices
  • a medical certificate required for cremation, and any doctor’s fees for signing this
  • an organist
  • fees for religious services
  • a burial or crematorium fee. The burial fee will usually include the costs of preparing the grave
  • extra cars
  • embalming
  • extra services by the funeral director, for example, use of the Chapel of Rest, transport from the mortuary, or special viewing arrangements
  • the cost of journeys of more than ten miles to the funeral director’s premises
  • a memorial
  • catering arrangements
  • stationery

You may need to sign a contract with the funeral director. Make sure you read it carefully and ask the funeral director about anything you don’t understand.

Some funeral directors might ask for a deposit before making the funeral arrangements.  

You may be offered a discount to pay for the funeral before or soon after it takes place. If you know the money will be released at a later date to cover the cost, you might want to consider a bank loan or overdraft to pay early.

Money may be released later, if the person who has died made arrangements to pay for their funeral through an insurance or other policy, or if money is released after their estate has been dealt with.  

If there is a legal claim for negligence against someone for the death, the cost of the funeral can be claimed as compensation.

Otherwise, you may agree payment by instalment, or pay after the legal process of dealing with the person’s estate has been settled.  

The coffin is probably the most symbolic item of the funeral proceeding and some families may not be aware of the choices of coffins that are currently available.

Traditional ‘shaped’ coffins, made of hard oak or elm wood have been used for years. But there are now many more environmentally-friendly options to consider.

More information and coffin suppliers (pdf)

Other useful information

National Association of Funeral Directors

618 Warwick Road
West Midlands
B91 1AA

Tel: 0845 230 1343
Website: (external link)

National Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors

3 Bullfields
CM21 9DB

Tel: 0845 230 6777
Website: (external link)

Natural Death Centre

In The Hill House
Watley Lane
SO21 1QX

Tel: 0871 288 2098
Website: (external link)

This Government’s website is also very useful as it takes you through step by step all that needs to be done after someone dies (external link)

For general counselling and support, contact:

Cruse Bereavement Care

PO Box 800

Day-by-day helpline for adults and young people: 0808 808 1677 (Mon-Fri 9.30am-5.00pm)

Tel: 020 8939 9530 (office)
Website: (external link)

Cruse East Sussex

Community Base, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XG

Tel: 01273 234007
Website: (external link)

WAY Widowed And Young

WAY Widowed And Young is a self-help organisation for people aged 50 and under who have been widowed. Their website is: (external link).

The Compassionate Friends

14 New King Street

Helpline: 0345 123 2304 (Monday to Friday from 10.00am to 4.00pm and 7.00pm to 10.00pm)
Northern Ireland helpline: 0288 77 88 016 (Monday to Friday from 10.00am to 4.00pm and 7.00pm to 9.30pm)
Tel (office): 0345 120 3785
Website: (external link)

Support following the death of a same-sex partner

Switchboard LGBT

Helpline: 0300 330 0630 (7 days a week 10.00am to 11.00pm)
Email: (external link)

Support following a suicide

Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide

The Flamsteed Centre
Albert Street
Derbyshire DE7 5GU

National Helpline: 0300 111 5065 (7 days a week 9.00am to 9.00pm)
Website: (external link)

Barnardo’s Child Bereavement Service

Barnado’s Child Bereavement Service provides individual and group support to children and young people who have been bereaved. There is also an advice line that is open to any adult concerned about a bereaved child. The service is provided mainly for Northern Ireland, but will give telephone or email advice and information to people anywhere in the UK. Contact details are:

23 Windsor Avenue

Advice Line: 028 9066 8333
Website: (external link)

Child Bereavement UK

Child Bereavement UK offers support to families when a child of any age dies or is dying, or when a child is facing bereavement. It runs a support and information helpline and email service staffed by trained bereavement support workers. Child Bereavement UK also provides training in bereavement support to professionals. Contact details are:

Clare Charity Centre
Wycombe Road
HP14 4BF

Support and information line: 01494 568 900 (Monday to Friday from 9.00am to 5.00pm)
Fax: 01494 568 920
Website: (external link)

The Child Death Helpline

Barclay House
37 Queen Square

Helpline: 0800 282 986 (if calling from a landline) or 0808 800 6019 (if calling from a mobile phone)
Website: (external link)

The Lullaby Trust

11 Belgrave Road

Bereavement support line: 0808 802 6868
Information line: 0808 802 6869
General enquiries: 020 7802 3200
Bereavement support email:
Information email:
General enquiries email:
Website: (external link)

The Rosie Crane Trust

The Rosie Crane Trust provides support for bereaved parents. They offer a 24-hour ‘Listening Ear Helpline’, available to all in the UK. Their drop-in centres are available in Somerset, North Dorset and North Devon in England.

Rosie Crane Trust
PO Box 62
TA19 0WW

24 hour helpline: 01460 55120
General enquiries email:
Website: (external link)

Support following a stillbirth

The Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Society (SANDS)

Victoria Charity Centre
11 Belgrave Road
London SW1V 1RB

Helpline: 0808 164 3332
Website: (external link)

Support following a miscarriage

The Miscarriage Association

17 Wentworth Terrace

Helpline: 01924 200 799
Website: (external link)

A living will is a form which allows you refuse any medical treatments that you do not want to be given in the future.

Find out more from Compassion in Dying.

Living Wills (external link)