North Ayrshire Council is aiming to ease the financial burden placed on families who have suffered a bereavement.

The Council’s Cabinet is to consider a new initiative to support families to provide a dignified funeral at a lower cost.

Funeral poverty is an increasing reality for many people across North Ayrshire who find themselves in a position where the cost of a funeral outweighs their ability to pay.

According to Citizens Advice Scotland, the average cost of a funeral in Scotland is £3,500 and meeting these costs brings added financial pressure to people on lower incomes at a particularly vulnerable time.

To help alleviate this burden, a Council is proposing to work alongside funeral directors to develop a new, affordable ‘Respectful Funeral Service’ package.

Cabinet members will consider the proposal at a meeting on Tuesday, January 21.

If approved, Cabinet Member for Place Jim Montgomerie hopes the proposal will help minimise any financial burden on grieving families.

He added: “All of us at some point will have experienced the death of a loved one.

“It is a traumatic and difficult time without having the additional burden of organising and paying for the funeral.

“We know that many families, particularly those on low incomes, will struggle financially to ensure their loved one is laid to rest respectfully.

“That’s why this scheme can make such a difference to so many people at such a difficult time.

“As well as reducing the cost of a funeral, it simplifies the process while still ensuring a respectful and dignified funeral.”

The Respectful Funeral Service package aims to identify appropriate funeral directors to provide low-cost, fixed fee, dignified funeral service packages for North Ayrshire residents.

This model has been successfully introduced elsewhere, and has helped reduce funeral poverty, alleviate the burden of unknown costs and improve local choice.

If approved on Tuesday, the Council will begin work to identify appropriate funeral directors with whom an agreement will be developed with the aim of introducing the new service later this year.