As such, Caledonia Cremation has announced it is extending its Covid-response emotional support helpline due to the “continued need”.
The company launched the free service in April out of concerns for people’s wellbeing due to the strict funeral restrictions. It has since received funding from Foundation Scotland from its Response Fund meaning that their counsellor could provide much needed support to any bereaved person in Scotland – even if they didn’t use the charity for their funeral.
Caledonia Cremation was set up in 2018 by the charity Community Renewal to fight funeral poverty in Scotland and is the only not-for-profit funeral directors in the country. They offer not-for-profit cremations to anyone in mainland Scotland and since they began, they have saved bereaved Scottish families over £1million in funeral costs.
Co-founder John Halliday said: “We are still receiving calls from people who have been affected by the funeral restrictions. One gentleman recently lost his wife of 40 years. He wasn’t permitted to see her in the hospital until right at the end. Upon her passing, he was not allowed to choose the crematorium for his beloved wife’s funeral due to limited availability.
“Rather than being able to choose, he was allocated a crematorium and told where to wait for the funeral car to pick him up. This added a feeling of helplessness and anxiety to someone who was already extremely devastated and only just starting the grieving process.”
He added: “This isn’t an isolated incident, and we are still receiving calls from people who have felt they haven’t been able to grieve properly. As a charity-owned social enterprise, our priority is first and foremost to support people in Scotland.
“Up until now, that has been by providing not-for profit funerals which don’t push families into funeral debt. We have always provided a caring service, but these are unpredictable and unnerving times. So, with the support of Foundation Scotland, we can continue to offer the free helpline to anyone who needs it.”