Shortlisted for the Guardian Charity Award is Quaker Social Action, which works to improve the lives of people on low incomes.
Its Down to Earth project has now been running in east London for two years. It has helped people to buy inexpensive funerals. At the same time, it has guided people in the creation of meaningful and beautiful sendoffs. The most important ingredients in any funeral are, after all, free.
The winner will be announced on Tuesday. Some of Down to Earth’s volunteer mentors are regular readers of this blog and good friends of the GFG in addition to being outstandingly brilliant people in their own right.
It’s always a lottery who wins awards ceremonies. We shall cross our finger and hope that the DtE team will be rewarded. Good luck!
Down to Earth- addresses both death and debt, helping people plan their own funerals and promoting access to cost effective funeral services.
Funeral poverty is highest in London where an average London funeral costs £3,803 and has risen by 60% since 2004. QSA partnered with organisations involved in end of life care, collaborating to address these issues of poverty and debt by promoting access to cost effective funerals. QSA arranged a basic funeral price with three providers for less than £1,800.
QSA have trained 20 volunteer mentors to act as community advocates, supporting grieving relatives to take control of their situation. In 2011/12 they gave practical guidance to 124 people, negotiating an average funeral price of £2,167, saving over £1,000 per funeral. QSA have hosted eight community conversations about dying, encouraging 122 people to plan ahead.