We're on a mission.

The mission of the AHFA is for every person dying in Australia to have access to a home funeral.

AHFA sits as a bridge between community and professional knowledge, advocating for evidence-based best practice standards and an increase of people's agency and capacity. By bringing together community and professional voices, AHFA aims to foster a healthier culture around death and dying.

The AHFA is the national peak body for home funeral practitioners and advocates, dedicated to the empowerment of families and communities through the provision of ethical and inclusive education, information and advocacy for home funerals and family directed death care options in Australia.

How did we get here?

In 2018, our board president, Rebecca Lyons was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to investigate the human relationship to death and ceremony through alternate approaches and technologies. Her Fellowship travel consisted of 21 flights, 4 train journeys, 2 car hires, 3 chauffeurs, 4 translators, 2 conferences, 49 deliberate individual conversations, 2 group meetings, 1 public talk and scores of random engagements!

Applying for a Churchill Fellowship was an opportunity to expand and learn from others overseas working in the space of end of life.

In her travels she met with End of Life Doulas, Funeral Directors, community members, CEOs, Entrepreneurs, advocates, inventors and volunteers looking at alternatives to contemporary burial and cremation as body disposal techniques and also at the ways in which alternate approaches to end of life are increasing community capacity and offering improved grief and bereavement outcomes for families.

When she returned she wrote a report about her findings, documenting all of the incredible concepts, new introductions and the many disruptions occurring in the end of life space in the western world. 

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At the conclusion of the report, Bec made a series of 13 recommendations for ways forward in Australia, three of those recommendations were as follows:

· Need for infrastructure developed in Australia that can govern, plan and direct these new end of life services. Establish membership-based organisations and/or a peak body to hold the standards for practice and manage the credentialing.

· A Foundation Charity should be established to fund those who are in marginalised communities to receive the training and be able to better serve their communities.

· Educational courses should be established and offered within the funeral industry, potentially through peak body conferences and seminars to provide learning to the contemporary directors on the value and space that the Doula role holds for families at end of life. From these, partnerships can be built to encourage end of life professionals to work together towards better end of life outcomes for the community.

Not content with simply establishing recommendations for Australia Bec went about determining what that might look like and how she could create something tangible for the Australian community. She set out to gather people from across Australia and the globe for a conversation about raising the death literacy level in Australia around Home and Family Led Funerals. It was a Saturday in May 2020 and we came together via Zoom where Bec pitched the idea of AHFA. Many months and meetings later we have planned a vision, established a company and applied for charity DGR status. We're excited about where we go from here.

 

  • Creating of collateral (t-shirts etc) - slogans and marketing for raising the profile of this home funeral conversations across the country

  • Creating national platform/conversation/advocacy including media and  marketing, creating avenues for bringing the conversation about after death care into spotlight

  • Production and circulation of fact sheets - home funeral, body disposal, advance planning, state specific fact sheets

  • Conference and events - AHFA conference (annual or biannual)

  • Create list of definitions and guide for language in the home funeral space

  • Connect to and work with mainstream peak bodies to educate

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Belinda Brooks

Secretary

Our Values

Our Aims

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  • Researching the benefit of home funeral, after death care

  • Empathy interviews with those who have experienced home funerals and death care

  • Workshops offerings across Australia looking at a variety of topics including shroud making, home funeral diy, after death body care, ritual and ceremony 

  • Review of State legislation looking at differing legislative requirements with a view to bring them into line and also look at ways of making home funerals more readily accessible

  • Obtaining grants and funding for research, events, conferences, building partnerships and education

  • Development of an academic journal - professional journal for death study and publication

  • Creating a map of the end of life space in Australia, documenting the providers and services with offerings in the various aspects of this space.  

  • The AHFA is the national peak body for home funeral practitioners in Australia, acting as an education and advocacy body for communities and government for home funeral practices, rights and choices

  • AHFA is a national peak body dedicated to the empowerment of communities through the provision of ethical, sustainable and inclusive access to education, information and advocacy for home funerals and family directed death care options in Australia.

  • A home funeral gives the community the space and time in which to care for their persons body before disposal in a manner that upholds their values and builds positive transformation and experiences of death. 

  • As the AHFA we provide information, education and advocacy to both public and professional, involved in creating and facilitating home funerals.

  • Bringing together community and professional voices through education, professional development, advocacy and the development for a healthier culture of death and dying. 

  • We want to advocate for and educate communities, individuals, and professionals in Death-care to bring more agency , voice and accessibility in End of Life. 

  • AHFA is committed to the promotion and practice of evidence based death care. We work with healthcare providers, organisations, and policy makers to advocate for practices that support healthy dying, death and bereavement.

  • Advocating for communities to have more understanding, support, and agency in Death-care so the life lived and lives touched can be honored and respected.

  • We are working to build the understanding and capacity of both the community and those working at end of life/after death in regards to best practice in processes, options and choice making at end of life and after death care. 

  • Ahfa is a bridge between community and professional knowledge.

Meet the Board

Dr. Pia Interlandi

Deputy Chair

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Dr. Annetta Mallon

Treasurer

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Dr. Kerrie Nooan

Research

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Claire Turnham MBE

Education

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Sarah Bartley

Membership

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Suzanne Obando

Communications

Chair

Rebecca Lyons

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