Jenny Briscoe-Hough is a community worker who runs Tender Funerals, one of Australia's first not-for-profit, community-run funeral parlours, offering services at a fraction of the price. With the standard funeral leaving little change from $10,000, it is no surprise that money, more than religion, is often uppermost in the minds of families when a loved one dies. That is particularly true when those families are living on welfare payments.
But the community in Port Kembla, south of Sydney, has taken matters into its own hands. Jenny had her first encounter with the business of death when her mother died seven years ago. "I was shocked by the cost of a funeral," she recalled. "And I said, maybe we should just start a not-for-profit funeral service." Since then, Ms Briscoe-Hough has worked towards getting Tender Funerals off the ground. The organisation became the subject of a 2013 documentary film called Tender. There is a call from the community to actually bring conversations about death to life. "For me, what Tender Funerals is about is saying to people, you've got control over this process, what do you want to do? We'll work with you," she says. "We are trying to say, we are not going to equate the money spent on a funeral with love. "We are trying to say love has got nothing to do with that."