A West Midlands-based family-run funeral director is offering a helping hand to customers of a funeral plan company, following its collapse.
Safe Hands Funeral Plans went into administration last year (2022), leaving almost 50,000 customers, across the country, with a prepaid funeral plan out of pocket and seeking alternative funeral arrangements.
John Ashe, Managing Director at Jennifer Ashe & Son Funeral Directors, which is headquartered in Willenhall and operates five funeral homes across the region, said most Safe Hands’ customers will have lost thousands of pounds after the company entered administration – although the cost of funerals does tend to vary on a plan-by-plan basis.
As a result, the award-winning funeral directors which were established by John and his Mother in 2016, offered to honour families and individuals who bought Safe Hands plans through them. They have also opened their doors to support Safe Hands customers who had purchased one of their plans through another funeral director.
John saw the situation with Safe Hands, and knew he had to help. He immediately conferred with his senior team to discuss exactly how – and they settled on offering their services free of charge to anyone who has been affected by the collapse of Safe Hands.
John said: “Having worked in the funeral industry for several years, we know how critical funeral plans and trustworthy, reliable and genuine care is for not only individuals, but the wider family too. High quality funeral plans enable people to feel reassured about one of life’s most unpredictable events and make funeral care more affordable in the long run.
“Safe Hands had 46,000 customers when it went bust, which effectively left hundreds of thousands of pounds’ worth of funeral plans in the balance. Very early on, we decided to help those Safe Hands customers with their funeral arrangements.
“Our commitment to them was that they would receive several of our services for no additional cost. The same sentiment covers those customers that took our Safe Hands plans with other funeral directors – we have honoured their existing funeral plans, with only certain services, such as the purchase of a coffin, provision limousines and third-party costs such as a church, crematorium or clergy requiring an extra charge.
“These customers now have their funeral plan arrangements in order and it is one less thing they have to worry about, which is ultimately what we were hoping to achieve.”
Marie Church, 76, is a former Safe Hands customer, and said that Jennifer Ashe & Son’s support meant the world to her family: “John and the rest of the team at Jennifer Ashe & Son have been so accommodating in helping to give me a resolution when it came to my funeral arrangements.
“The support they offered after my sister, Madeleine’s passing was second to none. When Safe Hands went under, it was a struggle to know where to turn to. But once I received Jennifer Ashe & Son’s offer, I felt so at ease as the situation looked so much clearer – they took the time to walk me through my options for both my own and my sister’s funeral arrangements, and everything has been resolved.”
While Jennifer Ashe & Son have helped hundreds of customers in and around Willenhall find a solution, there are still thought to be thousands of former Safe Hands customers that are yet to have re-arranged their funeral plans.
John added: “We would encourage any former Safe Hands customers who haven’t addressed their funeral arrangements after the collapse of the business to get in touch with us as soon as possible, to see how we can help.
“We are aware there remain many customers who have unresolved plans and my committed and approachable team wish to help put as many people as possible at ease as possible.”
Safe Hands customers who have not resolved their situation are invited to contact Jennifer Ashe & Son, on 01902 937572, or click here, for a full breakdown of what your former plan covered and how John’s team can help.