Funeral Partners proud of growth, resilience and investment while maintaining traditions, quality and service of a family run business.

Sam Kershaw Chief Executive Officer

When Sam Kershaw joined Funeral Partners as Chief Operating Officer in 2016 with decades of experience in the funeral profession, he was surprised by its small, intimate family feel.

The business, founded by Phillip Greenfield in 2007, was already a leading funeral services provider in England. But its ethos and culture mirrored the traditional family businesses whose heritage and commitment to serving local families it sought to maintain.

Funeral Partners’ 15th year anniversary makes the business seem so young compared with the decades of history amongst the businesses within its network with some dating back 100, 200 even 300 years. However, it is a key milestone and an achievement worth celebrating.

Phillip Greenfield Founder of Funeral Partners

“I wanted to create a culture which aligned with the type of businesses we would be acquiring,” Phillip explained. “We would keep the local identity of acquired businesses and invest in property, fleet and people to raise standards to premium level. We would take the administrative burdens away and allow them to concentrate on what they do best.”

Since Sam took over as Chief Executive Officer in 2018, Funeral Partners has become the fastest-growing funeral service provider in the UK. It expanded into Northern Ireland, which added 18 branches and 11 brands to the network, and grew significantly across the UK to more than 230 funeral homes, with 1,000 employees, now delivering more than 22,000 funerals each year.

“I’m proud that despite the relatively fast growth, we’ve maintained that family feel,” Sam says. “That’s our intention. Our aim is continued growth, but in a manageable way, while protecting our culture and core values.”

Investing in people, property, fleet, technology and marketing remains key to Funeral Partners’ strategy, continuing to evolve the customer experience and meet families’ expectations.

Acquisitions are the primary focus of the growth strategy, working closely with and integrating former owners and the local team into the business, maintaining their heritage and allowing them to shape the role they wish to retain.

With Funeral Partners now made up of 130 former family-owned businesses, managing the exceptions and unique local nuances is no mean feat.

Sam said: “We have doubled in size in five years, in an environment in which we saw very unusual circumstances, we faced a global pandemic and an unprecedented period of increased regulation and upheaval for the profession.”

Despite these challenges, Sam said: “We have built a reputation for being the acquisition partner of choice in the profession.

“We want to involve former owners in the future of their business because they have built up the reputation and community relationships which underpin their success. And our growth creates opportunities for their teams to develop their careers.”

Sam pays tribute to the teams who are at the heart of Funeral Partners’ 15 years of success, working proudly and professionally every day to care for every grieving family member and to support their local communities.

Despite wider choice, the growing interest in unattended funerals, DIY funerals, environmentally friendlier funerals and more unusual requests for processions, services and wakes, Sam says most families still want fairly traditional and personalised funerals, arranged compassionately by highly-trained professionals.

For the next 15 years and beyond, that will remain at the core of Funeral Partners’ service offering, while building on its success, evolving and innovating to meet the needs of its customers.

Judi Edwards, one of Funeral Partners’ longest serving employees, reflects on her career and the changes she has seen during the last
15 years.

Judi Edwards had been a Funeral Director for five years at Huntleys Funeral Services in Redditch when it became the first funeral home to be acquired by Funeral Partners. She has seen a lot of change in the industry and within the business under Funeral Partners’ stewardship, with positive developments in terms of standards and day-to-day operations.

Huntleys Funeral Services in Redditch

Judi said: “I remained at Huntleys post-acquisition and felt comfortable and secure with Funeral Partners being the new owner as the network grew. By 2011, I was promoted to the role of Operations Manager for the Midlands.”

As Funeral Partners’ growth continued, Judi’s career prospered. “In my current role, I get involved in acquisitions. As I was part of the first acquisition, I know what it feels like to transition to Funeral Partners so can help the people in those businesses and reassure them.”

Judi reflected on how far the business has come. “I am really proud of Funeral Partners and the people who work in the team. We have loyal and enthusiastic teams and management.

“Based on my experience, for new acquisitions it is really beneficial to be part of Funeral Partners as they provide all the support services that the individual funeral homes don’t have, like marketing, HR, finance, payroll, and quality assurance.

“As Funeral Partners has grown, experienced people from the funeral homes and profession have moved into some of the support services roles and we have recruited managers from other industries, so there is a lot of experience there to call upon. There is always someone at Funeral Partners who knows the answer and is willing to help, reflecting the great team spirit and culture that has been built.”