SAIFCARE Bereavement Counselling – a new service from Sims and Jones

Sims and Jones Independent Funeral Directors is delighted to offer an additional service to its clients. A service that is very important in our profession. The National Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors (SAIF) are delighted to launch its very first bereavement counselling service, SAIFCARE. As proud members of SAIF, and participants of the SAIFCARE scheme, this enables us to provide this service to our clients. This provides an additional service to families in Swansea and South Wales, who are having to deal with a bereavement.

Why we offer such service

As well as arranging the funeral, we are a team of professionals who are here to assist people going through grief. For instance, it might take some time for us to talk about the death of a friend or loved one, however getting support from SASIFCARE to assist the healing process will improve the situation.

SAIFCARE is here to assist those affected. As for children, we can work with their families to assist them to assist their child from the grieving process. Our bereavement counselling is a specialised kind of counselling that involves supporting people who have recently lost a family member. This counselling assists them to work through their grief and also assist them in learning a coping mechanisms to assist them when they are alone, or struggling. Our bereavement counselling service is highly recommended for those whose loss appears to be too much to handle or perhaps whose life is being negatively affected by their grief.

So if you are in need of a bereavement counselling service in Swansea or a bereavement counselling service in South Wales, Sims and Jones, through SAIFCARE is here to support you, and your family.

Getting the best advice before your time of need

The following article was published in the December 2017 edition of Swansea Bay Business Life. The article was written to raise awareness of a funeral comparison website ‘About The Funeral’ which assists the client in making an informed decision at their time of need.
Written and published by Chris Pyke, Business Correspondent at Media Wales.


It’s something that none of us want to think about before it happens, but sooner or later most of us will have to arrange a loved one’s funeral. When the time comes most people just want to get it over with and don’t want to worry about how much it is costing.

But with the average price of even a basic funeral coming in at more than £4,000, it’s not surprising that one in 7 people go into debt to pay for it with an average debt of £1,668.

In fact, Britons amass a total of £160m of funeral debt a year.

As with most things, people could save a lot of money by shopping around, with funeral directors’ costs varying by as much as £2,365 within the same postcode area.

Despite this, only 6% of people get quotes from more than one funeral director and 89% of us go with the first one we contact.

Now one woman is trying to help people save money by providing a comparison site where you can compare the costs of different funeral directors in your area.

Kim Bird set up About the Funeral after years of working in the funeral business and seeing how people depended on their funeral directors.

“When you have to arrange a funeral you just want to get it all done and for it all to be over as quickly as possible,” she said.

“Many people want a funeral director to do all the work but you don’t have to, you can do a lot yourself. But most people want the funeral director to do it because it’s too emotional.”

In Wales the average cost of a simple funeral is around £3,500. Three quarters of people opt for cremations, which is perhaps not surprising given that burials cost on average at least £1,000 more.

The website allows you to compare the costs of different funeral directors in your area, but also to see how you can bring the cost down by choosing different packages.
Ms Bird came up with the idea for the business 18 years ago while she was working as a funeral arranger and bereavement counsellor. She was touched by the experience of the bereaved families she met and how vulnerable they were.

“Funeral plans get a bad press because they are mis-sold by some unscrupulous resellers who won’t tell you that the plan doesn’t include everything,” said Ms Bird.

Most plans don’t include cremation or burial costs or the costs of a grave. Sometimes the family isn’t aware that not everything is covered, so Ms Bird urges people who take out a plan to make sure they and their family know what’s covered.

On the site a user can compare funeral plans. Funeral plans typically cost between £3,500 and £4,000 and can be a good way to save your family from having to find the money to pay for your funeral after your death.

About the Funeral has been hailed by GoCompare founding member Kevin Hughes as an industry disruptor by tackling the lack of price transparency head on.

Mr Hughes has joined the board as an investor and director. Two non executive directors bring different, but equally vast experience to the firm. Alan Slater is a former CEO of the largest funeral trade association in the UK, the National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD) whose members account for 80% of all funerals, and Rob Thomas is the former Chief Architect and Head of IT Delivery at Go Compare.

The cost of a funeral is made up of funeral directors’ fees and third party expenses. The funeral directors’ fees cover things like arranging the funeral, looking after the body, and supplying the coffin, hearse and staff on the day. The third party expenses include such things as cremation or burial fees, paying for a minister or celebrant, flowers, newspaper notices, order of service sheets and the costs of a wake.

And Ms Bird cites a study that says 85% of consumers want funeral prices to be published so she believes there is an obvious demand for the site and the industry needs to respond to this and change.

One firm that has signed up the site is Swansea’s Sims & Jones Independent Funeral Directors.

With more than 50 years’ funeral experience between father and son undertakers Gareth and Matthew Sims, the pair created their business, along with family friend Geraint Rhys Jones and Elwyn Marfell Jones, in 2014.

Their endeavour was a response to what they felt was an increasingly corporatised landscape for undertakers.

“The funeral profession has been industrialised by big businesses,” says Matthew.

“We felt a lot of companies were taking away the compassion and personal touches that customers really need at what is a very difficult time for them.”

Matthew acknowledges that Sims & Jones is a profitable business, but says profit is not its main objective.

The company implements a cap on the amount of money it makes per funeral, keeping its services as cost effective as possible, and it’s happy to be transparent with its pricing.

“The prices we advertise are for complete funerals – there are no hidden extras, and we tell customers the full costs involved before we properly engage with them, so there’s no pressure on them to make a decision.”

This is partly why Sims & Jones signed up to About The Funeral, as the service allows customers to consider costs and quotes in their own time, without the pressure involved in meeting a funeral director face-to-face.

“When a loved one passes away people will make kneejerk reactions, mainly because they’re dealing with very intense emotions, and they want to offload some of the stress on to someone else,” says Matthew.

“Whether that someone else charges £4,000 or £3,000 doesn’t matter at that specific moment, but it could have significant financial implications later on. It’s important that customers make decisions will all the information available to them.”

The company hopes that About The Funeral will encourage people to ‘shop around’ for undertaking services. “It’s made us, and other independent funeral directors, known to customers who mightn’t have sought us out before,” says Matthew, who notes that in times of distress it’s easy to simply choose a big, well-established name.

“It’s not just about getting the cheapest funeral, it’s about getting a funeral that’s right for the customer. About The Funeral allows independent undertakers to demonstrate exactly what they can do for every customer – their dedication to compassion and personal service – with the transparent pricing that’s sorely needed. It’s evened out the playing field for the profession.”

Five Things to Do Before you Die campaign

Sims and Jones Independent Funeral Directors in South Wales are very pleased to support the ‘Five things to do before you die’ campaign.

It is often a discussion that people avoid at all costs, but the importance of having this discussion is highlighted when families are planning a funeral of their loved one without any idea of what their wishes were.
“I often support families who are unsure what their loved ones would have wanted after their death and this puts even more stress on them during an already emotional time.”

If the discussion is still to uncomfortable for you to have with your loved ones, it is now an option to complete the information within the booklet and let your loved ones know where this is stored. Sims and Jones Independent Funeral Directors are also happy to record and keep a duplicate copy of these wishes, or should this information be something that you would prefer not to keep in your own home.Continue reading

Sims and Jones introduce a new service – Direct Cremation

Sims and Jones Independent Funeral Directors are aware that we all have unique wishes when it comes to our own funeral arrangements. We already cater for a number of different options including our Essential Funeral, Inclusive Funeral and our Bespoke Funeral. We have now decided to add to these services by providing our Direct Cremation. The Direct Cremation is suitable for those who don’t wish to have a funeral service. Our Direct Cremation includes the following:

  • Professional Services
  • Cherry Oak Veneer Coffin
  • Hearse
  • Hygienic Treatment
  • Cremation Fees for the following crematoria:
    Coychurch, Llanelli, Llwydcoed, Margam, Swansea. (Alternative fees may be required for other crematoria)
  • Doctors Fees
  • We’ll bring your loved one into our care, day or night
  • Your loved one will rest with us until the funeral day
  • Our Funeral Director will arrange the funeral at a time convenient to Sims and Jones.

Our direct cremation is a very simple funeral where you loved one will be taken to the crematorium. There isn’t a service or vicar. The funeral director will carry out a short committal along with a reading of a poem.

Our direct cremation is charged at £1600.00

Victory for Sims and Jones Independent Funeral Directors, similar to David and Goliath.

The past month has been busy for Sims and Jones Independent Funeral Directors of Swansea and the Dulais Valley. At the forefront of this activity has been our continued support for the Enhanced Fair Funerals pledge, a campaign run by the anti-poverty charity Quaker Social Action (QSA).

This pledge outlines certain criteria including the inclusion of all signatories to publish pricing for a simple dignified funeral on their websites. This price should include all necessary third party costs, such as crematoria charges, vicar/minister/celebrant fees and doctors’ fees. The raison d’etre being to help bereaved families, improve transparency and combat funeral poverty.

This pledge was supported by Co-Operative Funeralcare, the largest national funeral company in the UK, with approximately 900 funeral branches (each branch having an independent website). On further inspection by Sims and Jones, we believe the Co-op did not act within the spirit of the pledge which was to include third party costs online. We also believe the information provided could potentially be misleading to a bereaved family. This was brought to the attention of QSA who agreed with our claim and subsequently approached Co-operative Funeralcare. Sims and Jones also wrote to the Co-op with its concerns but the letter has so far received no response.

Here are screenshots of Co-operative Funeralcare’s website before signing the pledge and after being approached by Sims and Jones and QSA.

3rd-party

3rd-party2

As you can see, changes have been made to the national website and all other websites that are associated with the individual branches. A welcome victory for a small independent funeral directors. We are pleased that thanks to our involvement there is now far greater transparency and clarity for the public. However, we still believe that compliance to the pledge is questionable. Third party charges are still excluded by the Co-op in regard to their ‘Simple Funeral’. The QSA has said that it is working with the Co-op to rectify this within a set timeframe. Rest assured, we will continue to monitor the situation.

The Co-op offers and publicises a ‘Simple Funeral Plan’ for the inclusive price of £2,945. This provides the same services as the ‘Simple Funeral’ but has to be bought in advance. We strongly believe this still carries a lack of transparency as the ‘Simple Funeral Plan’ for £2,945 is almost an admission that the ‘Simple Funeral’ is likely to end up at the £3,000 mark once third party costs are included. We would urge the Co-op to make this clearer to families using their website.

Sims and Jones are still continuing to campaign for clearer pricing – with full costs published online – and we will be working with the National Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors (SAIF) moving forward.

We believe that greater transparency of pricing within the industry is vital to safeguard the interest of bereaved families during what can be a very traumatic time.

We are able to offer our essential funeral for £1,995 and our inclusive funeral for £2,895, both of which include all required disbursements. As in any purchase in life, and more especially with a funeral, make the choice that is right for you, without compromise.

Sims and Jones celebrates new branch opening with Dulais Valley community

Family firm Sims and Jones Funeral Director Ltd has launched a brand new premises in Dulais Valley, marking the occasion with a special open evening for members of the local community.

Over 40 people attended the event at the former post office in Onllwyn which has been completely refurbished to feature a welcoming reception area and visiting room for families. The firm is currently the only business in the village and the team is planning on becoming heavily involved in community activities.

Matthew Sims, manager of Sims and Jones Funeral Director Ltd who hosted the event, is already well known in the village as the conductor of the Onllwyn Male Voice choir and has performed in local concerts for many years. Matthew has worked in the funeral industry for ten years and started his first funeral business two years ago in Swansea.

Commenting on the opening, Matthew Sims, from Sims and Jones Funeral Director Ltd, said: “I have walked past the empty premises in Dulais Valley for several years and I am delighted that we have now been able to open this new firm to offer a friendly and personal funeral service here in the local community. It was lovely that so many people came along to the open evening.”

Sims and Jones Funeral Director Ltd is a member of the National Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors (SAIF), which represents over 870 independent funeral directors across the UK. The firm was one of the first firms to sign up to the Fair Funerals pledge, a joint campaign run by SAIF and the charity Quaker Social Action which promotes the availability of simple, low cost funerals.

Terry Tennens, Chief Executive of SAIF, commented: “I am very pleased to see Matthew Sims open a new branch of his business to serve the people of Dulais Valley. Before being accepted as a member of SAIF, a funeral director is inspected to check they meet SAIF’s high standards for the management of funerals and service to the public. All SAIF members must commit to offer a choice of costs, including a simple, low cost funeral to support families on a low income. Sims and Jones Funeral Director Ltd is a valued member of SAIF and has played a key part in campaigning to raise awareness of funeral poverty in recent months.”

Choir Conductor to bring more than music to the Dulais Valley

The conductor of Onllwyn Male Voice Choir, Matthew Ioan Sims is a familiar face to many music lovers in the Dulais valley, not just as the Conductor of the choir but as a result of many years of singing at local concerts.

Following many years of support from the Choir, and the many audiences he has entertained at Onllwyn Welfare Hall, and other venues in the valley, Matthew now hopes to be able to repay this support and assist people in their time of need.

Matthew is a Funeral Director by profession and is a Director of Sims and Jones Funeral Directors Limited. The business is relatively young but has a wealth of knowledge and experience within the profession. Gareth Sims, Matthew’s father, has over 30 years experience and provides advice from a traditional outlook while Matthew has over 10 years experience, and has honed his skills working in Swansea and in the Capital City, Cardiff. Matthew and Gareth have the combined opinion and desire, to offer bespoke, personally tailored funerals, if that be the desire of the client, but also to promote Fair Priced Funerals and help address funeral poverty. Sims and Jones also offer pre-paid funeral plans by Golden Charter. This is another way of supporting the Fair Priced Funeral Campaign. A funeral plan freezes the cost of a funeral at today’s price. This is something that Sims and Jones are currently offering at their Bonymaen based office, Swansea, and are planning to provide this choice to the Dulais Valley and beyond.

After passing the empty premises of the old Post Office in Onllwyn for many years, on his way to concerts and choir rehearsal, the business is pleased to announce that 11a Hendre, will now join the business as an additional office, pending renovation. The office is situated next door to Onllwyn Welfare Hall, Wembley Avenue. This will be the only business in the village of Onllwyn, and Sims and Jones are hoping to become involved in community activities.

“Sims and Jones raison d’etre is to offer compassion and care when you need it most. Whether you have a small or large budget, then we are able to tailor our services to meet your needs. This is why we are pleased to develop our business. One of the main reasons that this decision was made is as a result of the recent, much needed, attention that has been in the media surrounding Funeral Poverty and Fair Priced Funerals. We have recently launched a new website with transparent prices and a wealth of information, and as a bilingual company, we are currently working on translating this website into Welsh”.

Should you require any further information, please call us on 01639 874188

Swansea Funeral Directors launch Songs in Spring for the young at heart

Swansea Funeral Directors Songs in Spring logoFrom the initial thought of forming our business, Swansea Funeral Directors, Sims and Jones’ ethos has been to support the community and be a little different. With any new business focus rests on the initial set up. To support the community requires funds, something a new business is always short of. Up until now the community support has been limited to the East Side Food Bank, MacMillan Coffee Mornings as well as our core business of giving help to bereaved families, by providing our professional services, as the families chosen Funeral Director. We have always wanted to do more for the Swansea community and recently, following discussions within the company, it transpired that there was an obvious service we could offer the community.

One of the Directors and Funeral Director of Sims and Jones, is a well known classically trained Tenor. Matthew Ioan Sims has sung at many concerts throughout Swansea, the UK and aboard. These appearances have ranged from guest artist with Choirs to charity events. Matthew graduated with a Masters Degree from the Wales International Academy of Voice, Cardiff, in 2013. The course was under the guidance of World famous Tenor Dennis O’Neill CBE and the Patronage of Dame Kiri Te Kanawa OBE. The degree was awarded by the University of Wales, Trinity Saint David.

Following these discussions, Sims and Jones, Swansea Funeral Directors have agreed to sponsor and launch a new Community Program. It is planned that Matthew will tour local Swansea Residential and Nursing Homes. The idea is to provide music to those, in the community, who are now unable to attend concerts or musical shows. This will help and enhance the entertainment program that Residential and Nursing Homes already provide. Matthew will sing a 45 minute program of mixed music with a variety old classics and songs to stir the soul.

If you work at a Residential or Nursing home and would like to arrange a musical visit by Matthew, please contact him directly on Matthew@simsandjones.com or by calling 01792 700501. The program will run for three months, initially, with the intention of re-visiting, at regular intervals thereafter, should the program be a successful.

Bonymaen Funeral Directors revive family name

sims-and-jones-bonymaenThe family name Sims has been in existence in Bonymaen and Morriston, Swansea for a very long time. The Bakers and Confectioners business began in 1862 by Evan George Sims, supplying the Bonymaen area with freshly baked bread and other household goods. Following the death of Evan the business was continued by Evan’s Son David, and subsequently by Eirlys, David’s wife and ably assisted by her sister in law Sal Jenkins. After many fruitful years, the rise of the supermarkets were to change the business. However the general stores was still in existence until recently. In 2011 Sal passed away at the age of 91 and Eirlys decided that it was the right time to close the general stores. This ending an era. The location of the shop had been untouched and was like going back in time, until recently. Gareth Sims, who is the grandson of Evan George Sims worked as a funeral director for many years in Swansea, in particular the Brynhyfryd area, and when Gareth’s son, Matthew, became of age, he also followed in his fathers footsteps and began employment in the funeral profession, as is Gareth’s other son Lee.

bonymaen-funeral-homeOver the years Gareth has gained much experience in the Funeral Profession and has aided Matthew in his career, with help and advice. As a result Matthew is now established as a funeral director himself and a director of the company. It seemed a natural continuation, with the shop in Jersey Road vacant, offering an ideal location, that a family funeral directors be established, thus continuing the Sims name in the locality, hopefully for many years to come. Gareth and Matthew are fluent welsh speakers and the continuity of service will continue from first point of contact to the funeral itself and after. A family business cares for its clients like no other, because it matters to us that our good name continues and we are extremely proud that we can now service our own community with the very last means of respect, compassion and dignity.

Sims and Jones was set up as a new generation funeral director offering the family the widest possible range of choices now available with the changing face of modern funerals. This of course based on the very best traditional service, possible because of our forty years experience in the funeral profession. Because Sims and Jones is a new name does not mean that we are new to the very sensitive needs of the of the family or the funeral profession as a whole.

The clients of Sims and Jones can rest assured that your loved one will be treated in the most dignified and respectful way. Transparency, Compassion and Care, and attention to detail is paramount. We also believe that a Funeral Directors should from a part of the community. With this in mind we have chosen to support a new charity / organisation in the area. This is the East Side Food Bank. This will help the community fight against poverty and hardship. Here we are pictured making a contribution to the charity. The Food Bank will be present at the open day and will gratefully receive any food donations. Since establishing the business Sims and Jones Funeral Directors have focused on producing an informative website, with links to many social media platforms, making information available to all and at the clients convenience. We have obtained membership to SAIF, so that our clients know they are going to be looked after and cared for by professionals. We also provide Golden Charter Funeral Plans. Our newly renovated office and arrangement room is now totally functional and all the facilities at our head office have recently undergoing renovation. We are looking forward to what the future has in store for us as a family business and are very happy that the name lives on in the community of Bonymaen, Swansea.

We look forward to welcoming you to our open day where free refreshments, discount vouchers for all visitors and a warm welcome awaits you.

For any enquiries or advice please call 01792 700501