What is the Natural Death Centre?
The Natural Death Centre is a social, educational, and entrepreneurial charity that lends impartial and free advice on all things death, bereavement, and consumer rights. Founded in 1991, they give families support on environmentally friendly funerals, while also managing the Association of Natural Burial Grounds. The Natural Death Centre provides educational materials on all aspects of funerals. Although their primary focus is eco-friendliness within funerals, they encourage the public to make their own choices. The Natural Death Centre and the Association of Natural Burial Grounds are both supported by a board of trustees who all work within a variety of professions concerned with death and dying.
What is a natural burial and why are they gaining in popularity?
Natural burials are a rising trend. In fact, with the continued rise in funeral costs, opting for a more simple and natural way to conduct a funeral has become increasingly popular.
A natural burial is where a body is not preserved with embalming fluid or other environmentally harmful chemicals. The body instead is buried in biodegradable materials and in shallow depth to allow for bacteria in the soil to decompose the body. A tree is often planted on the grave and grows because of the nutrients from the body being re-circulated into the ground.
In the UK, natural burial sites are largely varied and unregulated. Sites belonging to the Association of Natural Burial Grounds are all bound by a Code of Conduct, aimed at ensuring the highest professional and environmental standards. There are two types of natural burial grounds in the UK. There are “deep green sites” where embalming is prohibited, and the bodies are placed in coffins made up of biodegradable materials such as wicker or even mushroom shrouds.
At the other end of the spectrum, there are burial sites where a tree is planted but no other eco-friendly rules apply. The settings can range from a wild flower meadow to a woodland or even a more looked after parkland. In light of this variety, the Natural Death Centre gives an award to the ‘Best Natural Burial Ground,’ to celebrate and give praise to the level of detail people exert in caring for natural burial grounds, which makes a huge difference to grieving families.
What is the Natural Death Society?
The Natural Death Society was set up by the Natural Death Centre to bring people together who share the same beliefs in the human right to approach death with the same freedom that people live their lives. In fact, being able to genuinely choose one’s plans for the end of life has gained prominence within the UK public over the last few years.
Open and inclusive for anyone to join, the Natural Death Society was created to spread awareness about choice and improvement––both in the dying process and in funeral planning. The Society challenges the acceptance that individuals cannot care for the dead themselves. They also promote a message of death positivity and look to open up discussions about death and dying.
The Natural Death Centre membership
Members of the Natural Death Centre are integral to assisting the natural burial ground movement grow in the UK. The organisation is proud to work with members who share the same outlook in regards to funerals. The majority of the public call the Natural Death Centre’s helpline for general inquiries and to find their nearest natural burial ground. The natural burial ground sites are all listed on the Natural Burial Ground Director, which can be found on the Natural Death Centre website.
By joining the Natural Death Centre, one receives a copy of The Natural Death Handbook, an information pack, and documents/guidance for those thinking about their own death, or of someone close to them.
Why Neo joined the Natural Death Centre
Funerals don’t have to cost a fortune to be meaningful. In fact, we believe that in a world beset by over-consumption, what better way to commemorate the life of your loved one than by choosing an eco-friendly option. By choosing a green route, families are able to minimise the environmental impact of an end-of-life ceremony for the benefit of future generations.
As recommended funeral directors for the Natural Death Centre, we have pledged to:
- be flexible with families and to provide the service they request
- be transparent and clear in our pricing, listing everything in our service
- inform families that they can send feedback about our service to the Natural Death Centre should they wish