Our work is only possible through the generous support of people like you. Please consider making a donation to ensure we can help the next family who call on us.

Don’t forget to Gift Aid your donation

Thank you for your support

 

 

The Natural Death Centre

VIRUS EMERGENCY RELATED INFORMATION

All our burial grounds are open for funerals.

Be Careful !

We are sorry to report that at the current time many funeral directors are not caring for the bodies of the dead in the way most families expect. Do not presume.

Many are not opening or removing people from body bags. Neither are they removing hospital apparatus like breathing tubes or catheters. They are consequently not washing or dressing the deceased.

They are following their own company's emergency policy, not guidelines from the World Health Organisation, Public Health England or the Royal College of Pathologists. The WHO, PHE and the RCOP state that after a few days any virus dies with the patient and body bags are not required as long as the correct PPE is worn and a face mask is placed on the deceased to prevent any aerosol generation when the body is being handled.

The risk of infection is from the living not the dead.

If a funeral director tells you that you cannot view the body, arrange a burial or if they start citing rules and regulations we suggest that you jump ship to another company who will look after your relative in a more respectful and courageous manner. We have witnessed one large company use incompatibly coded, foreign, H&S information as a scare tactic.

In another situation, one poor gentleman who had bought his burial plot 10 years ago died from Covid19. He really didn't want to be cremated but the undertaker told his wife that he must be burnt. Unfortunately she did not check with the cemetery who would have told her to use another funeral director. This was probably because the undertaker knew that the burial ground would not allow a body, still in a plastic bag, to be buried.

Some firms are using the pandemic as an excuse to take on more work than they can cope with. This results in families being told that “due to the pandemic” there is no availability at the cemetery or crematoria for several weeks. This is mostly untrue. Delays are down to them being too busy and having no vehicles or men available.

Always ring the cemetery or crematorium yourself to find out about availability.

One family who rang us were told that there was a 9 week wait for a burial at their local cemetery in London. A call from us discovered that there were 3 teams of gravediggers working tirelessly and an immediate burial was available.

The decision to not handle bodies is quite rightly a personal decision. However, we believe that families should be informed that this is purely a personal or corporate choice and that the family and the deceased will be cared for differently by another firm. Allowing the public to make informed decisions is the honest way forward.

Unfortunately if the public do not ask about these things, fact check and demand a better service the industry will continue to behave in this way.

 

Where a local or national lockdown is in operation, visiting a grave is not seen as an essential reason to leave your home.  Neither are our burial sites suitable places for exercise or to walk your dog.  

At the moment most sites allow between 6 and 30 people to attend a funeral.  Each funeral director, natural burial ground or crematorium will make their own judgement as to what is safe in their particular premises.  If the crematorium will not allow members of the same household to sit in their own 'bubble', book the cremation at a different crematorium.

Remember that you will be able to organise a separate memorial ceremony, service or party at a later date when everyone can attend.  This can be at any venue on any day of the week. There are no rules so you will be able to arrange a unique, fitting occasion for the person whose life you have not been able to acknowledge at this unprecedented time.

If all funerals are required to become unattended please rest assured that the natural burial grounds will make exact records of every burial and will support your family once restrictions are lifted, helping you to arrange a memorial service, tree planting ceremony or similar at a future date.

 The NDC can send you information about arranging a burial on private land and offer you advice on carrying out DIY funerals.

The Natural Death Centre remains open for all enquiries please ring 01962 712690 or 07719 702195.  email contact@naturaldeath.org.uk.

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How can we help you?

 
If you are looking for help, support, advice or guidance planning a funeral, either for yourself or for someone close to you, the Natural Death Centre Charity is here for you.
 
We are passionate about sharing knowledge, dispelling myths, and empowering everyone who wants to have the best experience possible when it comes to making arrangements for a funeral.
 
We firmly believe that knowledge is power, and that by knowing what is possible, you will be able to make informed choices about what is right for you, your family and for the person who has died.
 
Please look through the pages of this website, or call our Helpline if you would like to speak to somebody who will give you as much time as you need.

 

Arranging a funeral

If you have to organise a funeral, or need help with a funeral, please look at our Arranging a Funeral section. Here you will find all the information you need to help you organise a good funeral, along with information about how to buy funeral services or funeral products.
 
If you are about to make arrangements for a funeral you might find our free download Questions to ask a funeral director useful.
 
If you want to find an funeral director, or want to know what makes a better funeral director, please look at our Recommended Funeral Directors pageHere you will find information about how to find a good undertaker, and details about funeral directing companies that are recommended as being flexible, transparent and fair. If you need an undertaker to help you with a funeral, we feel it is essential to do some research about the values of the company before appointing one.
 
If you are considering a green burial we have some suggested Questions to ask a woodland burial site to help you ascertain just how green and environmentally responsible a site is.
 
If you want to buy a coffin, please look at our Coffins, Shrouds and Memorials page. These are all Eco-coffins (green coffins) made by coffin suppliers who will sell directly to the public. They are generally alternative coffins made from willow or cardboard, however there are a few manufacturers of solid wood coffins who will sell direct as well as to the funeral trade.
 
 
Detailed guidance and information about having more control of funeral arrangements is contained in our Information Pack, available free if you join The Natural Death Society - details here
 
 

The People's Awards for 

The Best Natural Burial Ground in the UK

In keeping with our belief that kindness, support, empowerment and information is what every bereaved family needs, we used the information contained in over a thousand feedback forms from families who chose a natural burial to select the winners in our unique People's Awards.

 

Find out more here 

 

More to Death Magazine 

More to Death is the official online magazine for The Natural Death Centre and is full of interesting and thought provoking articles. Click here for more information.

 

Independent funeral advice

In the 25 years since the charity was founded in 1991, the Natural Death Centre has sought to inform, empower and inspire the public in all matters relating to death and dying, and in particular to increase awareness of funeral choices outside of the mainstream.

Despite our long running links with environmentally friendly funerals, we are not a green pressure group, but primarily a movement for social change.

We have played a central part in demystifying the traditional funeral, encouraging thousands of families in having the kind of funerals they wanted, and helping create opportunity for new rituals to emerge.

We are, and will continue to be an informed and reflective presence on issues such as dying at home, caring for our dead and changing funeral practices and we actively promote natural burial as an option that should be offered to everyone.

 

The Natural Death Society

  • Do you believe that death is a natural part of life?
  • Do you feel we should all be empowered in the process of approaching death, of dying and of organising a funeral?
  • Would you be willing to make a small regular donation to help support the work of The Natural Death Centre?
  • Would you like a complimentary copy of the Fifth Edition of The Natural Death Handbook, information packs and access to the NDC Google Group?
Why don’t you join The Natural Death Society?

 

  

How you can help us

 

Our work is only possible through the generous support of people like you.
Please consider just making a donation to ensure we can help the next family who call on us.
Just follow this link to donate online, send us a cheque, or consider leaving a legacy to the Natural Death Centre Charity in your Will.

If you like what we do but can't afford to donate, please support us through following one of our social network platforms.

 


The Natural Death Handbook (Fifth Edition)

 

The latest edition of the Natural Death Handbook is now available for anyone seeking advice on caring for someone who is dying or who wants to find out more about choices in funerals.

Packed with timeless information which has helped to change the way we look at death, this ground breaking work continues to inspire and empower families across the world.

We have chosen to sell the books EXCLUSIVELY directly from the Charity to prevent major online distributors from profiting at our expense.

Packed with timeless information which has helped to change the way we look at death, this ground breaking book continues to inspire and empower families across the world.

Read more here

 

Click here to read a review on the Huffington Post:

Death's Summer Coat: A Review of The Natural Death Handbook, Fifth Edition

 

Natural Burial Grounds

The Natural Death Centre also runs the Association of Natural Burial Grounds, the organisation which sets the standard for the growing number of green and environmentally friendly cemeteries in the UK.

All of our members undertake to comply with the ANBG Code of Conduct and take part in our independent monitoring system, giving families the ANBG Feedback Form to complete and return to the NDC.

To find your nearest ANBG natural burial ground please click here to see our list of members.

 

Advance Decision Forms

The Natural Death Centre Advance Decision (formerly called an Advanced Healthcare Directive or Living Will), plus a Death Plan form and a Funeral Plan form, can be ordered securely online via our bookshop

You can also watch videos of people talking about their own experiences of end of life care and living with a terminal illness on the 'Living with Dying' section of the healthtalkonline website.

 

 

Bookshop

 

The New Natural Death Handbook fifth edition is out now, this book is a must read for everyone. Completely revised and expanded into a boxed set of three books... Read more

Credit to Will Whipple (photographer)

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Links and Resources

 

 

 

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