Quaker Social Action was today recognised for its work against funeral poverty. The charity, known as QSA, beat almost 1,000 other entries for the coveted Guardian Charity award, becoming one of five to win the annual prize. The honour is given for QSA’s work with bereaved families preventing them from paying over the odds for a funeral and so avoiding ending up deeper in debt and despair.
QSA is a small charity that has been working in east London since 1867. It has created a series of innovative services including the rent guarantee scheme and a financial literacy programme. Its current projects range from life coaching for vulnerable people to working with east end estates to organise street parties so residents can meet their neighbours.
QSA won the award for the achievement of its funeral care project. Down to Earth is a mentor-led project that supports people living on a low income, and often already struggling with debt, to arrange an affordable funeral for their dearly departed.
When the loss of a loved one is made worse by the dread of paying to give them a good send off, the anxiety, grief and guilt is devastating. This project makes meaningful funerals affordable, enabling bereaved relatives to say goodbye without debt or regret. In just two years it has saved its clients over £100,000 in funeral expenses.