With fewer people able to attend funerals in person in 2020, Southern Co-op saw a total of £450,766 donated through the free online tribute pages it offered.
Despite only a slight rise in the actual number of funerals arranged, this was an increase of over 35% in online funeral donations when compared to the previous year.
The independent co-op operates branches of The Co-operative Funeralcare and Caring Lady Funeral Directors and supports grieving families in Berkshire, Dorset, Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, Surrey, Sussex, Somerset and Wiltshire. It believes the increase is down to more awareness of charities needing extra support as well as fewer people being able to attend funerals in person.
Steve Pearce, Chief Operating Officer for funeral services at Southern Co-op, said:
“Just under 300 charities received donations through our online memorial tributes. The majority of these will have been hit hard by the pandemic so the support is likely to be invaluable.
“Sadly, a lot of the families we supported last year were also affected by the pandemic. The fact that people are continuing to think of others, despite their own grief, is remarkable and shows the strength we have as communities working together in times of need.”
There were a total of 11,211 individual donations made in 2020 – an increase from 7,455 in 2019.
People made an average of £40 per donation via the online memorial feature which also allows friends and family to set up a personal tribute page, to light virtual candles, share memories, stories, photos and videos of loved ones.
The top three charities to which people donated the most were Cancer Research UK, Rowans Hospice in Hampshire, and Alzheimer’s Society.
Other local charities in the top ten were Phyllis Tuckwell hospice care in Surrey and Hampshire, which received £23,774 of donations; St Wilfrid’s Hospice in Chichester which received £12,909 of donations; and Mountbatten, end of life support on the Isle of Wight, which received donations of £7,812.
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