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Advice, Counselling, Support and Information

Age UK 0800 055 6112 www.ageuk.org.uk Helpline, free booklets and online downloads on many aspects of dying including: Making a Will; Power of Attorney; Disability Benefits; NHS Continuing Healthcare; Adapting Your Home; Technology and the Internet; What to Do When Someone Dies. Comprehensive Age UK booklets, of use to younger people too.

Benefits Agency – Enquiry Line 0800 055 6688 www.dwp.gov.uk www.gov.uk Helpline and claim forms and online downloads topics include all aspects of disability and carers benefits – Attendance Allowance, Disability Living Allowance, Carers Allowance, Social Fund Funeral Payment and Bereavement Benefits.  See: Department for Work and Pensions).

British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy 01455 883 300 www.bacp.co.uk. Information on organisations, counsellors and therapists nationwide (some of whom are free). Many hospices and palliative care teams provide free counselling and some have psychotherapy.

British Complementary Medicine Association 0845 345 5977 www.bcma.co.uk/ Guides the public through the maze of alternative therapies and therapists available and represents vetted organisations.

British Holistic Medical Association 0117 986 7121 www.bhma.org CD available ‘Sound and Song for Relaxation and Wellbeing’. Podcasts on back pain, managing stress and wellbeing.

British Medical Association 0300 123 1233 www.bma.org.uk The governing body for the British medical profession.

Care Quality Commission (formerly the Commission for Social Care Inspection 03000 616161 www.cqc.org.uk Health and social care regulator for England, which aims to ensure better care for everyone in hospital, in a care home and at home

Carers UK 020 7378 4999 www.carersuk.org Helpline and free booklets and online downloads topics include: What help is available?  Coming out of hospital, Residential or nursing care, What to do when caring ends, Advice for carers and former carers. Support groups for carers.

Citizens Advice Bureau 0345 404 0506 www.citizensadvice.org.uk National charity with local offices

Counselling and Psychotherapy  www.rscpp.co.uk - for a list of accredited / chartered or registered therapists

Death Cafe www.deathcafe.com to increase awareness of death with a view to helping people make the most of their (finite) lives. Holds regular pop-up Death Cafes.

Dignity in Dying 0207 479 7730 www.dignityindying.org.uk Aims ‘to make it legal for a competent adult, who is suffering unbearably from an incurable illness, to receive medical help to die at their own considered and persistent request’. Pioneers of the Living Will.

Dying Matters 0800 021 4466 www.dyingmatters.org Helpline and free leaflets online including ‘5 Things to Do Before I Die’. Holds a list of events for the public to attend and promotes the UKs Dying Awareness Week in May.

Final Fling Web resource providing a one stop shop to all matters of advance care planning and funeral wishes. www.finalfling.com

Find Me Help UK innovative web resource linking to local services, information and a supportive online community for people in the last years of life, their families, carers and friends. Project of Dying Matters.  www.help.dyingmatters.org

Health Talk Online 01865 744209 www.healthtalkonline.org Website with over 2,000 people’s experiences of all aspects of health and illness including dying. 

Hospice Uk 020 7520 8200 www.hospiceuk.org Publishes a UK directory of hospices and palliative care services. You can search online using your postcode to find your local palliative care / Macmillan nurse or hospice. Also provides international information on palliative care services.

Human Tissue Authority 020 7269 1900 www.hta.gov.uk Body/organ donation helpline and online downloads.

020 7263 1111 www.inquest.org.uk Advice service to bereaved people and professionals on contentious deaths and their investigation.

Living Well, Dying Well 01273 479114 www.livingwelldyingwell.net Charity offering advice and support to empower people on matters related to dying

Macmillan Cancer Support 0808 808 0000 www.macmillan.org.uk A charity providing support for cancer patients and their families. Helpline staffed by specialist nurses who can offer advice and send out free information booklets and online downloads.

Marie Curie Cancer Care 0800 716 146 www.mariecurie.org.uk A charity providing Hospice centres and night nurses who are free, but obtained through the District Nurse service.  Helpline and free booklets and online downloads. 

Natural Death Society by the Natural Death Centre 01962 712 690 www.naturaldeath.org.uk The Natural Death Society launched in 2012 by the NDC to bring together people who share the same belief in our human right to approach death with the same freedom that we live our lives.

NHS Carers Direct 0808 802 0202 www.nhs.uk/carersdirect Helpline offering information, advice and support  to carers

NHS Choices www.nhs.uk Website that gives access to find NHS services including hospitals and local doctors and helpful information on a huge variety of health related topics.

NHS Directory of Complementary and alternative practitioners. 020 8835 7009 www.nhsdirectory.org - Many hospice (day centres and inpatient units) provide free complimentary therapies.

Oral History Society www.oralhistory.org.uk Encourages people to record their own and other peoples’ life stories and offers practical advice and support. Many of the online genealogy websites have free guidance on how to record your family. 

Patients Association 020 8423 9111 www.patient-association.com
A national healthcare charity providing patients with an opportunity to raise concerns and share experiences. Signposts to advice, information and self help groups

Samaritans Helpline 08457 90 90 90 General 020 8394 8300 www.samaritans.org 24-hour confidential support for those in despair, distressed or suicidal.

Transitus 01258 475 125 www.martinsey.org.uk Network and resource for those working and interested in the spiritual aspects of dying. Has an online directory of its members. 

UK Council for Psychotherapy 020 7014 9955 www.psychotherapy.org.uk Holds the national register of psychotherapists and psychotherapeutic counsellors.

UK Transplant 0117 975 7575 www.uktransplant.org.uk Helpline and online downloads on all aspects of organ donation.

Voluntary Euthanasia Society (see Dignity in Dying)

7 Cups of Tea  7 Cups of Tea is an on-demand emotional health and well-being service. Our bridging technology anonymously & securely connects real people to real listeners in one-on-one chat sessions or phone calls.



HMRC www.hmrc.gov.uk/bereavement What to do after a death checklist as well as signposting to further advice.

Child Death Helpline 0800 282 986 www.childdeathhelpline.org.uk Trained volunteers (mostly bereaved parents themselves) offer free telephone counselling and emotional support to anyone affected by the death of a child or young adult.

Compassionate Friends 0117 966 5202 www.tcf.org.uk Charity of bereaved parents, siblings and grandparents dedicated to the support and care of other bereaved parents, siblings and grandparents.

Cruse Bereavement Care 0844 477 9400 www.crusebereavementcare.org.uk For all who have suffered a bereavement: socials, advice, counselling, training, publications. Helpline and free booklets and online downloads. 

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Bereavement Helpline 020 7837 3337 www.londonfriend.org.uk Counselling and support service provided by charity London Friend for people bereaved by the death of a same-sex partner. Provides advice on suitable clergy for the funeral, funeral directors and solicitors for any legal matters. (See also Terence Higgins Trust under Counselling section.)

National Association of Widows 0845 838 2261 www.nawidows.org.uk Membership-based organisation ‘run by widows for widows’: support, friendship and understanding.

Road Peace 020 7733 1603 www.roadpeace.org Supporting those bereaved or injured in a road crash. Memorial trees planted for those who die in road accidents in Road Peace Wood. 

Support after Murder and Manslaughter 0121 471 1200 www.samm.org.uk Support groups around the UK.

Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide 0844 561 6855 www.uk-sobs.org.uk Charity to meet the needs and break the isolation of those bereaved by the suicide of a close relative or friend, offering emotional and practical support.


Childhood Bereavement Network 020 7843 6309 wwwchildhoodbereavementnetwork.org.uk National federation of organisations and individuals working with bereaved children and young people; offers information, guidance and support for bereavement and children’s responses to grief.

Child Bereavement Charity 01494 568 900 www.childbereavement.org.uk Supports families and young people when a child dies or is bereaved.

CLIC Sargent 0300 330 0803 www.clicsargent.org.uk charity providing advice, publications and direct services in the community in people’s homes and hospitals for children, young people and their family.

RD4U 0808 808 1677 www.rd4u.org.uk Bereavement website designed for young people by young people as part of Cruse Bereavement Care charity. 

Winston’s Wish 01242 515157 www.winstonswish.org.uk Charity for bereaved children which helps young people re-adjust to life after the death of a parent or sibling. Helpline and free booklets and online downloads on all aspects of supporting children when talking to children about terminal illness.

Funeral Celebrants and Officiants

Civil Funeral Celebrant, Institute of Civil Funerals 01920 898156 www.iocf.org.uk reflect the life of the deceased with a religious or secular (non-religious) service/ceremony, or a fusion of the two.

Greenfuse Celebrant (Devon, Cornwall) 01803 840779 www.greenfuse.co.uk

British Humanist Association 020 7079 3580 www.humanism.org.uk for people who are not religious.

The Association of Independent Celebrants 01652 634063 ​www.independentcelebrants.com reflect the life of the deceased with a religious or secular (non-religious) service/ceremony, or a fusion of the two.

Inter Faith Minister One Spirit Interfaith Foundation 08444 457 004 www.interfaithfoundation.org– whether religious or not, spiritual ceremonies can be created and delivered according to family wishes.

Web search www.funeralcelebrants.org.uk

Celebrant CoachingCelebrant coaching and training academy.


Association of Natural Burial Grounds (part of the Natural Death Centre) 01962 712 690www.naturaldeath.org.uk/anbg Provides guidance and assistance to natural burial site operators in setting up and maintaining sites and ensuring that the Code of Conduct is adhered to, thus giving the public an assurance of best practice. Find your local Association of Natural Burial Grounds member on the listing page.


Coffins: see Natural Death Centre Coffins, Shrouds and Memorials page.

Cremation Society of Great Britain 01622 688 292 www.cremation.org.uk Find your local crematorium. Booklet What You Should Know About Cremation can be viewed online or free by post. 

Department of Work and Pensions (2009) What to do after a Death in England and Wales. 0845 606 0265 www.dwp.gov.uk.  A free guide to what you must do and the help you can get when someone dies. (see below for Scottish one)

Directgov www.direct.gov.uk Enter ‘funeral’ in search. Advice and guidance on your rights.

DIY Funeral - Natural Death Centre 01962 712 690 www.naturaldeath.org.uk also see USA section below which includes ‘home funeral guides’.

Funeral Director Listings 01962 712 690 www.naturaldeath.org.uk for the Natural Death Centre’s UK list of Recommended Funeral Directors.

Funeral Map 0845 0048608 www.funeralmap.co.uk provides listings of funeral directors in the UK. 

Funeral Payments from the Social Fund  Jobcentre Plus by
visiting www.jobseekers.direct.gov.uk Enter search: Get help covering funeral costs (form SF200).

Funeral Plans pre need funeral plans are increasing and there are many national companies. The Funeral Planning Authority Limited 0845 6019619 www.funeralplanningauthority.com aims to protect consumers' interests and provides advice.

Funerals Today for those seeking new, original, interfaith funeral readings. They are appropriate for those with any faith view, be they non-believers or devoutly faithful. A lot of the texts have a spiritual element, but there are no references to any particular religion. www.funeralstoday.org

Good Funeral Guide www.goodfuneralguide.co.uk An independent, not for profit consumer advice and advocacy service for anyone who needs to arrange a funeral for someone now, who wants to make future arrangements for their own funerals, or who ust wants to learn about death and funerals. Includes a brilliant blog with topical posts and commentary.

If I Should Die www.ifishoulddie.co.uk Web based resource on many aspects of funerals.

Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management 020 8989 4661 www.iccm-uk.com Raises standards of services to the bereaved by promoting best practice in cemeteries and crematoria. 

Music for the ceremony: there are many online suggestions for songs and hymns see www.sentiment-ltd.co.uk www.mylastsong.com Some people include the playlist in the order of service and can be listened to at home with web based companies such as www.spotify.com/uk. Live music works well too.

National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD) 0121 711 1343 www.nafd.org.uk Funeral Trade Association with a Code of Practice available free of charge. Complaints about a funeral director should go in the first instance to the funeral director, though there is nothing to stop direct approach to NAFD or to the Trading Standards Dept (through your local council)

National Association of Memorial Masons 01788 54 22 64 www.namm.org.uk Code of Business Practice and Code of Ethics for members. Has a list of members who produce individually-crafted memorials.

National Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors (SAIF) 01279 726 777 www.saif.org.uk Funeral Trade Association whose members are all independent funeral directors. The funeral service they offer is not part of a national or international conglomerate or chain, but is privately owned and managed.

Office of Fair Trading 020 7211 8000 www.oft.gov.uk Aims to protect consumers and explain their rights. Enter ‘funeral’ in search. Their survey showed only 21%of funeral directors thought that their clients were aware of the various codes of practice within the industry.

Photos and video www.animoto.com create your own collages for the funeral, or ask someone to take pictures at the funeral and share the day in a single email. See also Sentiment Ltd

Private land burial 01962 712 690 www.naturaldeath.org.uk for the Environment Agency’s leaflet ‘Funeral practices, spreading ashes and caring for the environment’.

Scattering Ashes www.scattering-ashes.co.uk web based resource on many aspects of cremation ashes. See also www.naturaldeath.org.uk for the Environment Agency’s leaflet ‘Funeral practices, spreading ashes and caring for the environment’

Scottish Government (2009) What to do after a Death in Scotland. 0131 556 8400 www.scotland.gov.uk A free guide to what you must do and the help you can get when someone dies.

Woodland Trust www.woodlandtrust.org.uk Dedicate a tree to one of 23 woods across the UK. Your local park might run a similar scheme.


Other than burial or cremation?

Organ /body donation – see Human Tissue Authority

Burial at Sea www.marinemanagement.org.uk enter ‘burial at sea’. Though romantic it can be a lot more expensive than a traditional burial and only about twenty happen every year. There are only three designated burial at sea sites around the English coast but more are planned. A more common alternative is to scatter the ashes at sea from the shore or by hiring a boat see www.scattering-ashes.co.uk

Natural cremation (open-air cremation) not available in UK at present but NDC is campaigning in its support.


Online Memorials

Of the numerous sites on the internet, some charge a great deal, some offer only temporary postings and some are free. See the Memorial Code of Ethics  www.thememorialcode.org for listings of organisations that have agreed to some basic principles.

Much Loved: the free online memorial charity www.muchloved.com



There are an emerging number of online blogs, the best of which in our opinion is

The Good Funeral Guide Blog www.goodfuneralguide.co.uk/blog The Natural Death Centre reads it daily.


Crossings: ‘Caring for our Own at Death’ www.crossings.net home funeral guide.
Final Passages www.finalpassages.org home funeral guide.

Funeral Consumers Alliance www.funerals.org information on alternatives to costly funerals and promotes the American natural death movement.

Funeral Ethics Organizationwww.funeralethics.org promotes ethical dealings in all death-related transactions.

Green Burial Council www.greenburialcouncil.org green funerals and natural burial. 

National Home Funeral Alliance www.homefuneralalliance.org home funeral guide.

Natural Burial Company www.naturalburialcompany.com green funerals and natural burial.

Natural Transitions www.naturaltransitions.org home funeral guide.

Passing Through Our Hands: A Home Funeral Guide www.passingthroughourhands.com video guide for home funeral care.

Undertaken with Love www.undertakenwithlove.com home funeral guide.

Grave Matters www.gravematters.us green funerals and natural burial.



CINDEA Canadian Integrative Network for Death Education and Alternatives www.cindea.ca A non-profit organisation providing information on alternative approaches to death and all the required resources, listed Canada wide or by each province and territory.


Rest of the World

Contact the Natural Death Centre for contacts around the world. 

Academic – see the Natural Death Handbook (2012) for a comprehensive list:

Centre for Death and Life Studies University of Durham. UK www.dur.ac.uk Academic centre.

Centre for Death and Society Academic centre hosting the Funeral Services Foundation Degree. University of Bath. UK.www.bath.ac.uk/cdas Has a free monthly newsletter of events and exhibitions.


Know your Facts links

DIY Funerals

Email Advice

Direct Funerals

Hot Topics

Advance Funeral Wishes



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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