Regional Meetings show our strength

words: Jo Parker, National SAIF President
Regional Meeting

I am coming to the end of a very busy few weeks of Regional Meetings. Starting at West Suffolk Crematorium and then moving onto Durham Cricket Club, The Village Hotel Leeds, Halliday Funeral Supplies offices in Birkenhead, Waseley Hills Crematorium Birmingham, the 12 Knights Port Talbot, the Best Western Tiverton, and finishing at CBCE and Southern Regional at The Hilton DoubleTree meeting in Southampton.

I have also travelled to Belfast for a SAIF Education Day and attended NFE for the weekend. It has been manic, exhausting, but also really good to meet so many members and discuss the matters of the moment such as the FCA, SAIF’s UKAS accreditation, Diamond Partnership with the Westerleigh Group, and SAIF Digital.

NFE was an exciting few days; hard work but SAIF received a lot of interest. We now exceed 1,000 members, making SAIF larger than NAFD. Obviously NAFD is larger in branches, because of the corporates it looks after, but SAIF has a larger membership which is such a fantastic achievement.

This increased membership doesn’t just happen, it is due to all the hard work of our CEO Terry Tennens, the staff at our SAIF office and our National and Scottish Executive. Collectively they have represented the Independent Funeral Directors at Government level during the most trying and changeable times.

All in all, the feedback we have received from members at Regional Meetings and at NFE has been really positive, and the added benefits we’re constantly working on for the membership have been hugely appreciated. But the meetings have also been a good opportunity to talk through any members’ problems and issues.

We’ve also had a lot of our associates join us at the Regional Meetings, giving them an opportunity to network with members. It has been great to see new and old SAIF members attend their first meeting and express how much they enjoyed it and found it informative, with a wish to come again.

Regional Meetings are there for you, the members and associates, so please engage, they really are beneficial. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has been one of the hottest topics and Malcolm Flanders, at Golden Charter, has done a sterling job at each and every Regional Meeting, talking through the process, whoever your plan provider may be. At Durham Regional Meeting a member shared how they have written to all their clients that have plans to reassure them, an idea that I too have used.

We’ve also shared on social media that we only use a certain provider and that if anyone has taken a plan with any other provider who has promised our funeral services at a time of need then they should contact us. This was on the back of an elderly couple popping into the office to say that they had taken out a plan with Safe Hands and had selected us in their plan.

With the main providers now receiving confirmation of the FCA’s ‘intention to authorise’ you can be confident that now is a perfect time to contact your clients.

I’d like to take this opportunity to express my sincere thanks for the generosity shown at each meeting for my presidential charity, Papyrus. We have raised around £200 at each meeting, as well as £600 at NFE and a huge £2,500 at the SAIF golf day.

Every penny raised will help the charity in the fight to prevent suicide in children and young adults.

Brian Hart, from SAIFInsure, and a handful of members and associates were due to walk the West Highland Way in June, in support of Papyrus, but due to injuries and other work-related issues this has been postponed to September giving us plenty of time to gain more sponsorship. Please do sponsor these guys, it’s a massive challenge and they are training hard around their normal working days.

A JustGiving page has been set up and I ask that you give as much as you can (see QR code).

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