Austin's Blog


Our Christmas present to a local charity

December 13th, 2017    Author:

It’s always lovely to help local charities so Austin’s was thrilled to hand over a cheque for £5,000 to Crossroads Care Hertfordshire North this month. It’s a fantastic charity that supports unpaid carers and their families through a range of services, including help at home, community cafes and respite care.

The donation was made possible by our membership of the Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management (ICCM), which runs an innovate Metals Recycling Scheme.  As part of the scheme, crematoriums can have metals collected from their premises, with profits from the recycling scheme fed back so that they can donate to their nominated charity.

The ICCM started its recycling scheme in 2006, following on from other European countries like Holland, Germany and Switzerland. The idea behind it was first and foremost to help the environment – which is why our Harwood Park Crematorium was so keen to sign up.

The main metal that’s collected is from orthopaedic implants, which people may have had for a joint replacement or bone repair operation. These implants are made from medical-grade metal that comes from non-renewable sources – so a huge amount of energy is wasted in mining new ores to produce more metal. With the metal recycling scheme, the implants are smelted down ready to make new orthopaedic implants.

Since we joined the ICCM’s metal recycling scheme 11 years ago we’ve not only been helping to protect the planet in this way we’ve also raised around £30k for local charities, including Road Victims Trust, Keech Hospice Care and the MS Centre in Letchworth.

Of course we understand that not everyone will want to have their loved one’s implants recycled. Some people may prefer to either have an implant returned to them or for it to be buried. Unfortunately, however, we can’t scatter cremated remains that contain metal.

We’re always sensitive to a family’s needs and when you come to us to arrange a funeral we’ll do whatever feels right for you and your loved one. If you do decide to opt for recycling we’ll ask you to sign a consent form so that everyone is clear about your wishes.


* If you’d like to arrange a cremation at Harwood Park Crematorium, please contact us on 01438 815555.


Claire Austin hands a £5,000 cheque to Andrew Taylor, operations manager at Crossroads Care Hertfordshire North

Claire Austin hands a £5,000 cheque to Andrew Taylor, operations manager at Crossroads Care Hertfordshire North



Austin’s charity donations continue

February 3rd, 2016    Author:
MD Claire Austin hands over cheque for £5,972.15 to North Herts Samaritans

MD Claire Austin hands over cheque for £5,972.15 to North Herts Samaritans

Since Austin’s Charitable Fund was set up in 2002, it has raised over £125,000 for community-based and local charities. This month, Austin’s managing director Claire Austin was delighted to hand over a cheque for £5,972.15 to North Herts Samaritans, the nominated charity for 2015.

Says Claire: We are delighted to have been able to help the SAMARITANS who provide an invaluable service by supporting people in our community.”

Other charities that have benefitted from Austin’s Charitable Foundation include Cancer Hair Care, Tracks Autism, The Living Room and Homestart. This year’s charity is Stevenage Haven which provides shelter and support for single homeless people.

Every year, a percentage of Austin’s profits goes towards a chosen charity. Austin’s are also able to donate money from their annual Christmas Carol Service at Harwood Park Crematorium as well as the sale of funeral service CDs. Money is also kindly raised through the generosity of bereaved families who donate to the charity in memory of a loved one.

Austin’s would like to thank everyone who has helped to raise money for their nominated charities over the years and look forward to continuing to raise money in 2016.

Pictured – Alan Chaney, Chair of Samaritans Friends, Claire Austin Managing Director of Austins Funeral Services, Leigh Grigson, Branch Director North Herts & Stevenage Samaritans, Janet Moss Deputy Director of Outreach at North Herts & Stevenage Samaritans.

2015 Christmas Carol Service – 16th December

November 16th, 2015    Author:

Our annual Christmas Carol Service takes place at Harwood Park on Wednesday 16th December at 7.30pm. Tickets are available free of charge by calling Harwood Park on 01438 815555. Mince pies and mulled wine will be served following the service.

This service is always busy and it’s a lovely way to remember those who will always been in our hearts but perhaps not in our lives.

Donations gratefully received for the Samaritans which is our charitable fund for 2015.


Christmas Carol Service 2015

North Herts and Stevenage Samaritans Support Other Organisations

June 2nd, 2015    Author:

Although Samaritans is a national organisation providing 24 hour support to people in emotional distress, it is made up of 201 branches across the UK and Ireland.

As well as manning the phones, email, text and face to face support at each branch, a significant amount of work is needed to promote awareness and partner  with other support groups locally.

The North Herts & Stevenage Branch, located in Hitchin, are involved in a number of efforts in our area as part of this effort.  This includes:

Presenting talks to local organisations and schools

We recently participated in a Stevenage initiative aimed at Primary School children to educate them about talking about their problems etc

We have a stand at the Lister Hospital on the first Wednesday of each month by the Wishing Well which has created a lot of interest from patients and staff

The Samaritans organisation has established a partnership with Network Rail nationally with the aim to recognise people in distress and make an intervention to offer support.  Locally we have a presence regularly at Stevenage, Hitchin, Knebworth and Biggleswade stations which includes supporting Network Rail staff, raising awareness and responding with Samaritan volunteers in the event of an incident – the support is for anyone involved – staff and passengers.

We partner with other local organisations supporting vulnerable people such as MIND, AA. Homeless shelters.  As part of this we make an appearance once a month at the Letchworth based Cheap as Chips who provide the opportunity for a cheap lunch and company to vulnerable people.

All the work is done by volunteers, there are no paid staff at local branches.  Many people give up their time to be at the end of the phone/email/text or talk face to face for people to be able to talk in confidence and anonymity without being judged, when they need to share their feelings of unhappiness or are trying to work out how to cope with life.

In order to keep the work going we need to keep the branches running which requires a lot of effort from the Fundraising team, known as Friends, which helps pay the bills – phone, electric, gas etc.  This involves activities such as collections at local supermarkets, attendance at local events, sponsored events such as runs, walks, cycles etc.

The fundraising we will receive from Austins will help in a number of areas.  Although this is still to be finalised, one area in particular that has already been identified is to help with training costs for Samaritans.  In order to provide all the services we need to, it is necessary to provide specialist training for the additional roles that volunteers take on following their initial intensive training to become Samaritans.  The type of activities the additional training includes are:

Train the Trainer


Recruitment & Selection


This training usually incurs a fee as well as travel expenses are they can be held in different parts of the country.

For anyone deciding to become a Samaritan it offers the opportunity to support your local community and people in need but it can also provide on a personal level the opportunity to develop new skills and life experiences.  We are always looking for new volunteers so if you would like to find out more please contact us on 01462 455333 or email us on:

To find out more visit our website at