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Dying Matters Week launches

Stories of funeral home colleagues going above and beyond to support families during difficult times have been shared to highlight their role as key workers during the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.

While it has undoubtedly been a challenging period for our Funeralcare colleagues, the teams have been working tirelessly to ensure the families are supported as fully as possible and treated with the utmost compassion.

During Dying Matters Week (May 11-17) we are shining a light on some of the key workers in their funeral teams who have been going the extra mile to support families and to ensure the Society can provide outstanding service in challenging circumstances.

Among these funeral heroes is Staveley Funeral Director Lorraine Parson-Woodbine who has been commended for an idea for a new electronic arranging system which she then led on and helped bring to fruition, which has saved precious time and reduced paperwork for colleagues during this testing period.

Funeral Administrators Sandra Emery and Victoria Salter have gone above and beyond, helping to effectively create a second care centre for the Derbyshire area in Spondon, transforming the funeral home overnight to allow extra capacity for the care of loved ones who have sadly passed away.

Senior Funeral Director Pam Sheppard has been instrumental in the leadership of the Humberstone Road team in Leicester, engaging with colleagues and encouraging them to be able to suggest ideas many of which have come to pass to improve the service provided.

Corby-based Senior Funeral Director’s Richard Tilley and Aiden Phillips’s contribution has also been highlighted for their tireless work leading on relationships with coroners and hospital trusts in Northamptonshire.

Senior Funeral Director Maria Davis has been working tirelessly to cover Central England Co-op Funeralcare’s entire Birmingham funeral operation, overseeing two major care centres.

Arvel Lowe, Senior Funeral Service Assistant, has stood up as a true leader at the Society’s Great Brook Street Care Centre in Birmingham, supporting both the operation and every colleague in every way, going well and truly beyond the call of duty.

Peterborough Funeral Directors Kelly Sciara, Samantha Hampson and Rebecca Whomes, as well as Senior Funeral Service Assistant Leigh Ann Wiseman have also been hailed.

They have been commended for volunteering to support the operations team if needed during these challenging times working in an environment they had not previously experienced.

Another funeral hero has been Caister-on-Sea Funeral Director Stephen Dye, who has recently recovered from a transplant operation and is therefore currently ‘shielding’.

However, to continue his support for the funeralcare teams he has been taking part in a working from home trial and has taken on the role of managing the Society’s fleet of funeral vehicles across Waveney.

This is a new initiative for the Society and, with some additional IT support, it is hoped that selected colleagues, who are currently being advised to socially distance themselves because they are high risk, can support the business and families in some key areas.

In Lowestoft, funeral colleagues have been supporting Kessingland Church Food Bank and although in lockdown the teams have managed to get together three sizeable donations of food and other supplies for them.

Hazel Moss, Head of Funeral at Central England Co-op, said colleagues have been showing incredible dedication to adapting to unimaginable changes to the service they can provide and ensuring families are fully supported at this time.

He said: “It never ceases to amaze me how our colleagues will truly go above and beyond to ensure the families we support receive the most compassionate and respectful service possible.

“That level of service has rarely been as important as it is now, and I am so proud of all the Central England Co-op Funeralcare teams for how they are serving their communities during this unprecedented period and to how they have adapted so quickly to unprecedented and rapid changes in the funeral industry.

“Those colleagues who have been highlighted showcase the very best in co-operative values but there are countless others across our teams who are equally worthy of recognition.”

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