Skip to content

Funeral poverty issue sees not-for-profit launch in Scotland

Caledonia Cremation, the UK’s first not-for-profit funeral director has launched in Scotland.

Offering simple, direct cremations for one all-inclusive price of £995, the company says it provides a flexible, affordable option for bereaved families across Scotland.

The average cost of a cremation in Scotland in 2017 was £3,146*[1]and average costs of a direct cremation were £1,680. Every year this cost is increasing, putting added strain on many grieving families, pushing one in seven people into debt.

 A direct cremation is a simple funeral with no service at the crematorium. This option suits many families, who would rather have the flexibility to arrange a memorial or celebration somewhere personal to them and the deceased. The family or loved ones can decide if they would like the ashes to be scattered, or returned to them.

Caledonia Cremation is wholly owned by the Scottish anti-poverty charity Community Renewal Trust. Any profits will be reinvested into projects that will help those in Scotland’s poorest communities who are struggling to cope with bereavement.

Caledonia Cremation founder Paul McColgan commented: “Borrowing thousands of pounds to cover a funeral is now common practice in Scotland. Our vision is for a Scotland where everyone can afford a dignified funeral, personal to their needs.

 “At Caledonia Cremation to keep costs lower we don’t have a fleet of hearses and limousines. These days there is no need for top hats or canes. We are simply committed to offering one cost, and never to upsell. We offer the same dignified service to every single person. Equal for everyone, it is not a question of rich or poor.”

Alastair Davis, Chief Executive Officer, Social Investment Scotland explained why they are adding their support: “Social enterprises in Scotland have a fantastic track record of creating innovative solutions to some of society’s greatest challenges, and the issue of funeral poverty is one of the most pressing issues many households are facing.

“Social Investment Scotland have been delighted to be able to provide financial support to this new social enterprise to support their launch costs, support that is absolutely in line with our mission to create a real, measurable and sustainable impact upon people’s lives.”

Paul McColgan continued: “Sadly I have first-hand experience of the strain that this can place on a family, when my brother in law died suddenly in his twenties. Like many young families there was no provision for such an unexpected event but fortunately other family members were able to support the funeral costs. It highlighted to me the terrible financial burden arranging a funeral can place on many families, particularly younger families and that something needed to be done.” 

Social Investment Scotland and the ASDA Community Capital Fund combined have provided a £100,000 loan to kick start the project.

Caledonia Cremation is able to arrange funerals for those living on mainland Scotland, however at present the service does not extend to the Scottish Islands.

Go to for more information.

  • Sunlife Cost of Dying report, 2017

Photo (from left): Ian Kirk, John Halliday and Paul McColgan

Get more with a subscription.

Everything you need to know in the funeral industry. Get much more with a subscription to FSJ, from just £2.42 per month.


Share your thoughts...