A Contemporary Community Based Funeral Service


An Overview


Tender Funerals has a vision to create a not for profit community based funeral service.


It is a social enterprise initiative of Our Community Project. It will empower people around death and dying, and offer a not for profit funeral service that is affordable and highly personalised, to support healthy bereavement. It will define a new category of funeral care in the Illawarra/South Coast region of New South Wales.


Currently, people on a low income have great difficulty purchasing a funeral, often going into significant debt as a result. Yet the availability of low cost funerals remains limited in New South Wales, particularly in rural and regional areas. This is despite the fact that the disposal of bodies is an essential service that should be available to all, regardless of income. So firstly, Tender Funerals will offer affordable and flexible services and a transparent fee structure, to minimise the financial impact of funeral care. It will counter the idea that the amount of money spent on a funeral is a reflection of the amount a person was loved.


Positive funeral care experiences assist grief, loss and social isolation. People want greater choice to reflect values and cultures, transparency, support. They want more information to understand rights, responsibilities and choices at end of life and after death. So secondly, Tender Funerals will offer personalised services that demystify death and dying, and involve a model of community support, to assist healthy bereavement. This will include unique offerings of information and support, funeral services that celebrate and acknowledge both a person’s death and their life, and support and facilitation of active participation and community support in funeral care.  We will develop and implement a community development model to provide ongoing support and community awareness around death and dying.


Tender Funerals is re–imagining the way in which we as a community deal with death and provide a context within which the community is informed and empowered to ensure that the end of life process is one which is meaningful, authentic and good value.


Capital Investment Required

Tender Funerals will be set up over a six month period, with an initial investment of $199,032. Over the following three years, and with a further investment of $236,702, Tender Funerals will increase its market share and become a sustainable social enterprise.


Once we have secured funding

Tender Funerals will be set up over a six months period, after which services and products will be made available to the whole community. Particular take-up is anticipated from the disadvantaged (particularly refugee, migrant and Aboriginal communities), who need lower cost funerals, and Baby Boomers, the main creators of demand for home care funerals, involvement in after death care, green funerals, and personalised funerals.


It will be a community resource and  a funeral care provider that responds to shifts in community needs, attitudes, ideas and experiences in relation to death and dying.


It will also develop a model for not-for profit funeral care that supports healthy bereavement, and empowered decision making at end of life, which can be replicated in other communities.


Tender Funerals will operate five main services:

  • Information and support service: regarding end of life care and legalities, dying, caring for the dying, death, care of the body, funerals, burial, cremation and bereavement.

    • On site

    • Off site

  • Education service

  • One day course (6 hours)

  • Home based funeral care: the arrangement of funeral care in the home, including funeral arrangement and support within a community development model, cool plate use, bathing and dressing, a cardboard coffin, a funeral service, transportation to the crematorium or burial ground, and death certificate and registration.

  • On-site funeral care: the arrangement of funeral care at Tender Funerals, including funeral arrangement and support within a community development model, pick-up of the body, refrigeration and storage, bathing and dressing, a timber eco coffin, a funeral service, transportation to the crematorium or burial ground, and death certificate and registration.

  • Family directed funeral care: a combination of any of the following services, available separately or delivered as a package in accordance with the peoples needs:


 Funeral care services offered:

  • Refrigeration / storage

  • Bathing and dressing        

  • Embalming (on request)               

  • Body transportation

  • Timber eco coffin

  • Cardboard coffin               

  • After death care support 

  • Funeral service   

  • Venue hire

  • Cold plate hire                   

  • Arrangement and support

  • Funeral director                               

  • Death certificate and registration

  • Vigil at our premises

  • Vigil at your home


Organisational structure

Tender Funerals is a social enterprise project of the Port Kembla Community Project. A Project Manager will be employed to manage the day-to-day operations of Tender Funerals, a Funeral Director will be employed to oversee funeral care, and the Board of the Port Kembla Community Project will be responsible for the project.

Tender Funerals will be based in the Wollongong LGA at Port Kembla in NSW


Research – Talking about after death Practices:

Attached is a downloadable version of Talking about After Death Practices


A collaboration of TAFE NSW , Tender Funerals (previously Community Undertakings), The Natural Death Care Centre, Life Rites and Groundswell.

We live in a death denying society, the community has become disconnected from death and sees it somehow as a failure. This disconnection is costing us more that we can imagine. When someone we love dies it is often a shock even if the death was expected.


Welfare students have conducted 36 in depth interviews and held 11 Focus groups to date. An online survey component of the research has been activated this week. What has become evident so far is that people are very worried about the cost of a funeral and are not informed as to what is possible in relation to funeral service and the practices around end of life and after death.


Tender Funerals will work with disadvantaged communities to provide an affordable funeral, which is meaningful. We will facilitate funeral organization and provide a supportive context within which people can make affordable choices while deeply honoring the person who has died.


There will be in the near future a great need to reduce the cost of care for the elderly at the end of life.  Research has shown that the dying process would be improved if people were able to enter palliative care earlier. 80% of our lifetime medical expenses for most of us are spent at the end of life. We are an aging population and this is not a sustainable figure. Supporting people to be able to engage fully in end of life requires a shift in our culture where death is seen as being a part of the cycle of life and although it is sad it is not a failure.


By providing a more open approach to death and the process around caring for the dead it is envisaged that people will become for familiar with death as an inevitable part of life.


Death & Dying Matters workshops - creating useful community conversations

Tender Funerals uses a community development model and a whole of community approach to support develop and empower people in order to assist them to make authentic, meaningful decisions in line with their values and culture in preparation for end of life and funeral arrangements.


All you ever wanted to know but were afraid to ask:

  • About all things dying, death & funerals in simple & clear way

  • Which costs do you have to pay      

  • What can you do yourselves?         

  • How you can participate as much or  as little as you want

  • What paperwork you could get in order

  • What you legally can and can’t do

  • How you can create, structure & deliver a wonderful Rite of Passage


Below are the information sheets from the Death & Dying Matters Workshops

1. Overview

2. Important Matters

3. Navigating the Medical and Health Care System

4. The Dying Process

5. Caring for or being with the Dying

6. Death - Sudden, Expected or unexpected

7. Practical Care of the Body

8. Navigating the Medical and Health Care System

9. Bereavement and Loss

10. Contacts and Advocates





Our Community Project   |   Contact Us: 4276 3433, Nils on 4276 2224 or  Tender Funerals on 4276 1611

Corner Wentworth & Church Streets Port Kembla 2505   |    Send us an email