‘It’s about seeing ambition through’ - Dereham’s 22-year-old funeral director making a big difference
PUBLISHED: 06:30 18 July 2020 | UPDATED: 11:07 24 July 2020
Just the mention of the word ‘death’ is enough to make even the most stoic of us pause for reflection.
But what if you work in a world which deals with it everyday?
Funeral directors are often portrayed in film and TV as gloomy characters, when in fact it is a job which requires a strong disposition and a sensitive heart.
That is why many may be intrigued to learn that one of Norfolk’s newest independent funeral directors has been established by a 22-year-old - and he is offering much more to his community than funeral services.
Jordan Young, who grew up in Shipdham, has been working in the industry since the age of 19 after finding his calling when he took on a role working in the mortuary at Gordon Barber Funeral Directors in Costessey.
“I’ve worked in various industries in the past - administration, retail, and the sort of things most 19-year-olds work in, really - but as soon as I went into the funeral industry, I just found a passion for caring for the bereaved and deceased,” he said.
“It was something that was really in my nature and I felt like really that it was my thing, my calling almost.”
Acknowledging the massive undertaking of opening up his own funeral home, Mr Young wanted to be able to implement his own ideas and help his community.
He explained: “The industry is largely dominated by the older demographic, especially at the time I started. I went into it and felt like the really young one among everyone, but it’s something that I’ve become accustomed too and the more I’ve learnt, the more confident I’ve felt.
“I think it’s the same as any job. When you first start you feel a bit under pressure and like everyone knows so much more than you do.
“You have so much ambition on your shoulders and it’s about seeing that ambition through and being really able to target something.
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“I set this target of setting up a funeral home when I was 19 - it’s just something I had in my head, thinking if I had my own funeral home how could I help the community and what could I do differently?”
He has since gone from strength to strength and has become dedicated to “proudly supporting the community during the most difficult of times” - which is the company’s slogan.
“For me, I want to reduce the stigma around the funeral industry as a whole and almost represent the change which is happening in the industry as well.
“Sometimes we are the people the bereaved come to for comfort. I want to embrace that ability to have that effect on the bereaved for the better, and to make them as comfortable as possible and know everything is being cared for.
“For me it’s about gaining the trust of the community, being somewhere where they can come in and have a chat.”
Mr Young is also hoping to embrace change by introducing measures such as pre-payment plans, which have risen by around 600pc in the last decade, and twice-monthly coffee mornings at the Jordan Young Independent Funeral Home headquarters to raise money for Jesse’s Anchor.
The first of these is being planned for August 3.
A local charity, Jesse’s Anchor supports families with children under four diagnosed with cancer and was set up in memory of a family who lost their child.
Mr Young has also been hands on during the coronavirus pandemic, offering a community response to help those who are unable to get out for essential items, and the home has also achieved member status of the Association of Green Funeral Directors, a non-profit organisation with the aim of ensuring sustainability and environmental friendliness to the funeral industry.
Finally, the business remains very much a family affair, with Mr Young’s father Robert driving vehicles and mother Angela working on reception.
It is clear to see there is so much at the heart of this business.
Mr Young added: “So many people have dreams, but sometimes they can seem so far away, for me it seemed a million miles away.
“I’d just tell anyone else to go for it.”