Take pride in your efforts… and here’s to the future!

words: Mark Porteous, National SAIF President
Mark Porteous

SAIF’s National President, Mark Porteous, on why he wants you to take a walk

The coronavirus outbreak is clearly a challenging situation for organisations and people everywhere, forcing us to rapidly adapt and rethink priorities. However, it is also reminding us of the good work we do within our communities. It gives us a sense of purpose, which in turn gives us the passion that Independents have in abundance.

The crisis has forced many changes in how we work and how we better understand and support our staff. Changes which in many ways needed to happen and should endure. It has also reminded us how much we all rely on the work of others – be it healthcare professionals, retail staff, delivery drivers or other key workers that are risking their lives to keep the rest of us healthy, fed and safe.

As key workers I am proud to see the dedication of SAIF members around the country who are working hard within their local areas. If you are the owner of the business you will probably have spent many sleepless nights since the pandemic started, working through the many different options and ways of protecting your staff and your business and to make sure your company is in the best position to recover and continue offering the community the best service and care that only Independents can give.

I want to say a big ‘thank you’ to members who are putting people first. This crisis has been a huge test for our profession and together we have shown agility as well as showing the country, governments and the CMA what our profession is made of and where our priorities lie.

I would also like to remind members not to get too complacent and to continue to purchase PPE when and if available. I think all of us realise the importance of being overstocked as far as PPE is concerned. The pandemic has also probably caused many owners to put expansion plans or marketing campaigns on hold.

I have been asked by many members if it is insensitive to market funeral plans and I have answered very clearly, no, it’s not. You just have to be careful on the style and wording of any adverts but there is no doubt in my area we have seen an increase from the public asking for information on funeral plans. You should contact your plan provider for advice if you are unsure about how to word an advert; they will be more than happy to assist you.

I mentioned earlier about not getting too complacent, but I think it is only natural with lockdown easing we can all enjoy a little more family time. I took advantage of this recently and went for a drink with my son Grant in our local pub where we had a father and son talk on parenthood.

I am very pleased to announce Grant and his partner Gemma are expecting their first child in November. Yvonne and I are over the moon at becoming grandparents and hopefully in future years, this will be the third generation joining the family business.

I will end by reminding you of a couple of SAIF benefits you can all access…

SAIF Support

Looking after you and your staff’s wellbeing is paramount in the funeral profession especially while in the middle of a pandemic. Please remember, SAIF Support is a benefit of your membership to you and your whole staff team. It is confidential and resourced by qualified professionals and it is free to your firm from SAIF. SAIF Support can be accessed by telephone or email and if the assessment of the Professional Help team recommends counselling, then there are up to six counselling sessions available either in person or online (Skype/FaceTime) at no cost to your firm or the staff member. It is a confidential service.

This is how seriously SAIF takes supporting the fourth emergency service across the UK. SAIF Support can be accessed Monday to Friday, 9am-9pm on 0800 077 8578, or by email.


If any of your clients wish to access grief care and bereavement support, this is available to SAIF member firms at no cost. This is a significant step forward in assisting independent funeral directors in leading the way in providing grief care in their communities. Your clients will be able to access trained and qualified staff provided by Professional Help Ltd, Monday to Friday, 9am-9pm.

The SAIF Care helpline is available by email or on 0800 917 7224.

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