Putting ‘The Grave’ into Social Policy: State Support for Funerals in Contemporary UK

You can read Putting ‘The Grave’ into Social Policy: State Support for Funerals in Contemporary UK Society published in The Journal of Social Policy via Cambridge Journals Online here

Journal of Social Policy

Journal of Social Policy / Volume 42 / Issue 03 / July 2013, pp 605-622

Copyright © Cambridge University Press

 Published online: 14 March 2013


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A Will for the Woods – film

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I can’t wait to see this if anyone has a copy!

You can learn more about the film project here.

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cemetery photography in Manila

I wanted to share the beautiful work of Hungarian-born photographer Roland Nagy.

Living in the Cemetery is a fantastic piece of visual anthropology. About this collection of photos, he writes:

“Metro Manila  has a population of around 11 million. Manila ranks as the world’s eleventh largest metropolitan area and the fifth largest urban area by population. It is also ranked as one of the most densely populated cities in the world.

This dense population has made some families find some alternative place to live. Accordingly, data shows that there are around 2.7million residents who live in slums or informal settlements such as along the railroad, within dumpsites, inside cemeteries, among others.

A significant number of these informal settlers live inside a cemetery among which is the Manila North Cemetery. It is the largest and oldest public cemetery in the Manila. This place for the dead is inhabited by more than 3,000 living persons who have made their homes amongst the graves and mausoleums.

People have lived there for generations in the cemetery with their great grandparents initially working to maintain the mausoleums of the rich families of the city.

Nowadays, the inhabitants are also immigrants from nearby provinces who went to Manila in search of job opportunities.  Most earn their living taking care of tombs and mausoleums and have managed to build a small community where they have shops, raise their children, and keep their animals such as pigeons and chicken.”

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Funeral Poverty

Some depressing but very important research from Wiltshire Citizen’s Advice Bureau:

Funeral Poverty: A plan for managing the impact of funeral costs

Wiltshire Citizens Advice (WCA) has been concerned for several years over the number of people we see who have experienced problems paying for a funeral. These problems often lead to debt and anxiety at a time when people are vulnerable due to bereavement. Funerals pose significant financial risks for anyone, especially people on a basic or low income.

Funeral costs have been rising by more than inflation, making it all the more difficult to manage money at a time of grief and loss. Dying in the UK now costs over £7,000, on average. With even basic funeral costs now over £3,000, funeral poverty is growing each year (Sun Life, 2012). The full costs may not be realised until it is too late to cut back. In the context of limited financial support available, even for those eligible for state benefits, WCA investigated how good practice might help address the risk factors between a death and a potential debt. This was done by surveying funeral directors in Swindon and Wiltshire and following up the surveys with interviews.

The results were used to develop a 4-point code for good practice to stimulate discussion.  WCA hopes that organisations across Wiltshire and Swindon – and elsewhere – will sign up to this and improve the situation.

To read more about our Plan for managing the  impact of funeral costs and the 4-point code for good practice – please click here to download our report.

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Robyn Woolston – Artist and Film Maker – Rites of Passage

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A brilliant presentation with some astute closing remarks about modern day death and dying. Fascinating, so I thought I’d share it with you! More of Robyn’s artwork can be found on her website http://www.robynwoolston.com/

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Through the Family Lens: How death illuminates upon the modern family in Britain


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