My name is Amy Sagar. I am the Funeral Director at Tender Funerals in Port Kembla. I am the funeral director you will likely meet if you have a death and engage the services of Tender.
This last few months have been a whirlwind. We quietly opened our doors on the 1st of September, 2016 only a few days after arriving back from my honeymoon. We decided not to make any formal announcement about opening for business so that we could start off slowly and ease into doing multiple funerals at a time. In a classic serendipitous moment we received our first funeral that very morning without letting anyone know we were open yet. In the funeral industry this was practically unheard of, however I was expecting this and more with Tender Funerals. But we are different at Tender. We serve our community. The Illawarra community has followed our journey for the past 7 years, and they had been calling us when a death has occurred well before we were even close to funding a funeral service – let alone having had opened it.
Our first funeral was really special. We knew what we wanted to achieve and we knew how to do it, but seeing it in action was one of the most rewarding and validating things I have ever experienced. We did exactly what we set out to do. We had an ordinary family who experienced a loss and we not only provided an affordable funeral, but we were able to empower the family to make decisions based around what was important to them and the deceased – creating a complete tailor made authentic funeral. The mourners made comments like “It was just like a normal funeral, only more personalised”. It was beautiful.
After completing a few more funerals and finally launching our website we went live with our most exciting announcement to our community yet – WE ARE OPEN. The response was incredible. We had a great deal of media covering and an entire day filled with interviews with radio stations, written news outlets and a local Illawarra news crew.
Our community was completely behind us in starting this endeavour, and we are completely behind our community in providing a service to them that has been lacking for many, many years. I come from the hustle and bustle of Sydney. I never seen community in action like I have in Port Kembla. Not only have they welcomed me with open arms in their wonderful little suburb, but also into their homes. I have found my place in world and I am home.
It still blows my mind to walk around our premises knowing what it looked like when we first purchased it before the renovations. When I look around now I see a beautiful and calming environment that washes a feeling of ease over me. But what I also see when I look around is walls painted by volunteers, architraves and windowpanes striped back and repainted by volunteers, fireplaces and doors painstakingly French polished by a man who volunteered his skills, beautiful led light windows custom handmade and donated by a volunteer, hours and hours of hard work contributed by our community has gone in to create the space we see today. This is not my space, this belongs to everyone.