Illawarra Mercury
By Greg Ellis

19 March 2021

Expansion: Funeral director Amy Sagar reveals big plans for Tender Funerals. Pictures: Sylvia Liber.

The transformation of the old Port Kembla Fire Station into a community-based funeral service will receive a $347,000 boost from the NSW government.

The funding from the Port Kembla Community Investment Fund means not-for-profit Tender Funerals can proceed with expansion plans.Funeral director Any Sagar said it would increase the capacity of the outside mortuary and build a garden space and an art studio where people could decorate their coffins when planning their funeral.

There will also be more office space.

“There are about 10 of us who work here and we have a really incredible volunteer base,” she said.

“It sounds like a small staff but we have this really wonderful group of people who work with us in so many different capacities.”

The service ensures that people experiencing financial hardship are given dignity in death.

“We exist to serve our entire community to help people make informed decisions around what they want to do for their funerals,” Ms Sagar said.

“We believe everyone should be able to afford a beautiful funeral.”

She said Tender Funerals was also changing the way society viewed death.

“That means feeling like the value of the funeral is about the experience, not about what you have to pay to have access to that experience.”

Ms Sagar said the expansion would provide opportunities to look after people in their final resting place.

“We are part of the Our Community Project,” she said.

“The community organisation just up the road is how Tender Funerals came to be. It is a beautiful story of hope and resilience in a community that rallies together.”

Ms Sagar said locals had identified there were a lot of people who couldn’t afford to bury a loved one, or didn’t have anyone left to look after them when they died.

“So we just said ‘we will open an affordable funeral home’,” she said.

“It took seven years to be at a point where we could open our doors. People have really embraced our services. And that is where the expansion is coming in.

“This funding means we can create more facilities for families to have more space to be able to look after people in the mortuary. It will increase our capacity”