Burnley funeral director championing free counselling service to help bereaved families

A well known Burnley funeral director is championing a free bereavement counselling service for families.

Monday, 29th July 2019, 4:31 pm
Burnley funeral director Stephen Alderson is part of a new service that offers free bereavement counselling to families facing the agony of losing a loved one.
Burnley funeral director Stephen Alderson is part of a new service that offers free bereavement counselling to families facing the agony of losing a loved one.

The service has been launched by the National Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors and is known as SAIFCare.

Free bereavement counselling is offered to families struggling to come to terms with the loss of a loved one as part of a new scheme by funeral directors and qualified counsellors.

The service is being made available to adult clients of Alderson and Horan Funeral Services in Burnley's Rossendale Road as part of a caring partnership between SAIF and bereavement support specialist Professional Help Ltd.

Stephen Alderson, who is funeral director at Alderson and Horan and a member of SAIF, said the service would help local families at a difficult time.

He said: “As funeral directors, we often see people at the start of their journey of grief and feel we would like to do

more to assist, as we know that feelings of sadness and loss don’t end with the funeral.

“This service enables us to go above and beyond for the families in our care in order to ensure they get

the support and advice they need at life’s most difficult time."

The scheme was launched in response to the growing awareness of the need for many people to

seek support following the death of a close friend or relative, thanks to a number of recent high profile


Last year Prince Harry spoke publicly about the pain of losing his mother Diana, Princess of Wales, and

footballer Rio Ferdinand revealed in a moving television documentary how the death of his wife had

affected him and their three children.

Under SAIFCare, family members will be offered up to six free counselling sessions, which can be used

by one person or split between various members of a family. Delivered by a qualified bereavement

counsellor, the sessions can take place at a location of the bereaved person’s choosing or by telephone

and even online chat and email.

SAIF piloted the service with 13 of its funeral director members last year and quickly identified a need to expand it across a wider area. Funeral directors who are members of the organisation have to opt in to offer the service.

Terry Tennens, Chief Executive of SAIF, said that demand for bereavement counselling was huge.

“It was clear from our trial that people really welcome and rely on the extra support from their funeral

director and we are certain that this will be replicated as we roll the service out to more of our members

across the UK.

“Whether it’s a growing recognition by the NHS of the benefits of counselling, or the current demand

placed on existing bereavement organisations, we are in no doubt that more people are seeking help following a death of someone close.

"It suggests that the famed British stiff upper lip has become outdated, as people become more aware of the benefits of getting professional support at a time of personal crisis.

"Funeral directors are ideally placed to help."

To find out more about the support offered following a bereavement, please go the website www.aldersonandhoran.co.uk or our facebook page Alderson & Horan Funeral Services