Caledonia Cremation, the UK’s first not-for-profit funeral director, launched in Scotland on 5 February 2018.
The company offers simple, direct cremations for one all-inclusive price of £995. With no service at the crematorium, the family or loved ones can then decide if they would like the ashes to be scattered, or returned to them.
According to Sunlife’s 2017 Cost of Dying report, the average cost of a cremation in Scotland in 2017 was £3,146 and average costs of a direct cremation were £1,680. Studies show that the cost of a funeral leads one in seven people into debt.
Caledonia Cremation is wholly owned by the Scottish anti-poverty charity Community Renewal Trust. Any profits will be reinvested into projects that will help those in Scotland’s poorest communities who are struggling to cope with bereavement.
It is part financed by the European Social Fund and Scottish Government. The project is also supported by the £9.7m Growing the Social Economy Programme as part of the Fairer Scotland Action Plan to tackle poverty and inequality.
As well as this, Social Investment Scotland and the ASDA Community Capital Fund have come together to provide a £100,000 loan to kick start the project.
Caledonia Cremation is able to arrange funerals for those living on mainland Scotland, however at present the service does not extend to the Scottish Islands.
Paul McColgan, founder of Caledonia Cremation, said: “Borrowing thousands of pounds to cover a funeral is now common practice in Scotland. Our vision is for a Scotland where everyone can afford a dignified funeral, personal to their needs.
“At Caledonia Cremation to keep costs lower we don’t have a fleet of hearses and limousines. These days there is no need for top hats or canes. We are simply committed to offering one cost, and never to upsell. We offer the same dignified service to every single person. Equal for everyone, it is not a question of rich or poor.”