We’re looking ahead to a successful year

 photo: Nic Donovan
Paul Allcock

It has been another hugely successful year for SAIF and I would like to start by thanking Gemma O’Driscoll for all her hard work over the past 12 months.

In that time there has been much we have achieved, and we have made significant progress as a representative body in the industry.

We have seen a strong growth in membership and now represent more than 850 independent funeral directors across the UK, 200 more than we did two years ago. This has enabled us to expand the services we offer to all members and I am very pleased that we were able to launch our new SAIFSupport counselling service to provide guidance to members who need it.

SAIF has also achieved greater recognition in the industry, championing the role of independent funeral directors in the media through our new PR agency and SAIFInsight magazine.

At the heart of all these achievements is supporting our members in any way we can while respecting their independence. This will be my focus for the year ahead.

I have been working in the funeral industry all my life and my own firm in Norwich, Allcock Family Funeral Services, opened in 2000. I am proud of our history as an independent firm and it is fantastic to be part of a trade body representing so many of us.

I aim to carry on the momentum we have built up over the past year and expand the services and support we offer to members.

I also want to continue to represent the views of our members in the wider industry as a whole, further build the reputation of independent funeral directors and champion education.

Most importantly, I want to ensure members come forward and discuss anything that is concerning them and that we have the support in place to help.

I will be travelling around the country throughout the year and I hope to meet as many of you as possible to hear your views at our regional events.

Finally, every year the President selects a charity to support, and I have chosen Mind. Mental health is an issue we can all relate to as funeral directors so please keep an eye out for future fundraising events that will be announced shortly.

The 12 months ahead are set to be very busy, but I hope that this time next year we can reflect on the new achievements we have made.