Posted on Tuesday 23 July 2019

in News

CLIC Sargent welcomes news that Funeral Fund now available for families to access in England

CLIC Sargent has welcomed the news that from today, no parent in the UK will have to struggle to find the money to pay for their child’s funeral again, as the Funeral Fund announced last month is now available for families in England to access.

Thanks to the tireless campaigning from CLIC Sargent supporters the fund will now prevent families being plunged into debt following the death of a child.

Last month CLIC Sargent celebrated the ‘momentous campaign victory’ that, after over two years of tireless campaigning, the Government made an announcement that they were going to establish the Children’s Funeral Fund.

The fund, available for families from today, Tuesday 23 July 2019, following similar announcements in Wales and Scotland will mean grieving parents no longer have to fear being plunged into debt by the cost of their child’s funeral.

This hugely significant change, that will help save bereaved parents up and down the country at risk of funeral poverty, is the result of two years of campaigning spearheaded by Carolyn Harris MP. Carolyn, who sadly lost her own son Martin when he was just 8 years old, delivered tearful and passionate pleas to the Prime Minister on behalf of all those who have lost a child and been forced into debt to pay for their funeral.

CLIC Sargent have been working closely with the Government to help implement this vital support and from today, the Children’s Funeral Fund will help families in England following similar announcements in Scotland and Wales.

Every year in the UK, 4,450 children and young people under 25 are diagnosed with cancer – that is 12 children and young people every day. Cancer is the biggest killer of children and young people by disease in the UK (aged 1 to 24 years old).

The Fund will cover burial and cremation fees and some associated costs. The Fund will make fees for a child’s funeral free for families at the point of need and is not means tested. It is available to all parents regardless of their nationality, or that of their child as long as the burial or cremation takes place in England.

Clare Laxton, Associate Director of Policy and Influencing at CLIC Sargent, said: “Today is a landmark day in CLIC Sargent’s history as this vital fund will go on to help so many people up and down the country facing the huge financial and emotional costs of funeral poverty.

“Our supporters, including many bereaved parents, have tirelessly campaigned to make this real change happen and we cannot thank them enough.  The fund has been a long time coming and it is important to remember all those families who have lost their children, we dedicate this campaign victory to them.” 

How it happened – a timeline

  • In November 2016 Carolyn Harris MP hosted the first debate in Parliament on the costs of children’s funerals sharing her own story after she sadly lost her son Martin and really struggled with funeral costs herself. Our research showed that many bereaved parents were struggling to pay for their child’s funeral and there wasn’t enough financial support there to help them.
  • CLIC Sargent joined forces with Carolyn Harris MP and other partners such as Fair Funerals UK, Coop Funeral Care and Child Bereavement UK and the campaign for a Children’s Funeral Fund gained momentum.
  • In 2017, we launched an online campaign to ask supporters to email their MP calling for a Children’s Funeral Fund. Nearly 2,000 emails were sent to 86% of all MPs.
  • In March 2017 CLIC Sargent and Child Bereavement UK wrote to the Chancellor ahead of the 2017 Budget to ask for a Children’s Funeral Fund. In the same month, the Welsh government announced they would scrap children’s funeral fees.
  • Following continued campaigning from Carolyn, at the end of March 2018, the Prime Minister announced that the Government would be creating a Children’s Funeral Fund.
  • The Scottish Government swiftly followed suit in May 2018 by announcing that across Scotland families will not be charged for burial and cremations of children.
  • Delays meant that in 2019 there was still no sign of the Children’s Funeral Fund. Carolyn called out the Prime Minister on the lack of progress on this in May 2019 in a Parliamentary debate – she was supported by a joint letter organised by CLIC Sargent and Coop and signed by over 50 charities and cross-party group of MPs.
  • 30 June 2019 – the Government announced the Funeral Fund will be created
  • 23 July 2019 – Funeral Fund available for families in England

For more information and how to access the fund to go to https://www.gov.uk/child-funeral-costs

Become a CLIC Sargent campaigner to help make more change happen for children and young people with cancer.

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