Central England Co-op Funeralcare colleagues across Norfolk and Suffolk going above and beyond to support families during Coronavirus outbreak

Stories of funeral home colleagues in Norfolk and Suffolk 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 colleagues at Central England Co-op Funeralcare, the teams have been working tirelessly to ensure families are supported as fully as possible and treated with the upmost compassion.

During Dying Matters Week (May 11-17) Central England Co-op Funeralcare is 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 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.

Part-time Funeral Service Assistants (FSAs) in Lowestoft Simon Filby, Leanne Houghton and Charles James stepped forward to form part of the new 12-hour night shift which has been put into place to support the community while the Coronavirus crisis persists.

They have been taking ‘first calls’ when a loved one has sadly passed away, ensuring that any preparation is kept up to date and completing deep cleans of the Lowestoft Care Centre and funeral homes.

Also in Lowestoft and highlighted for praise are fellow FSAs Alan Condie and Colin Bailey who have increased their workload, also going from part-time to full-time working 12 hour shifts throughout the day to fully support the day time operation.

Meanwhile, Senior Funeral Director Laura Crowley has been hailed for her work with Beccles Hospital, in Suffolk, setting up a relationship so the Society now work with the hospital to look after loved ones that have sadly passed away.

Matthew George, Central England Co-op Funeralcare Area Manager, 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.”

People can keep up to date with how Central England Co-op is responding to the Coronavirus by visiting www.centralengland.coop/updates


Notes to editors

About Central England Co-operative

Central England Co-operative is one of the largest independent retail co-operative societies in the UK with interests in food, funeral, floral, travel and property investment.

Co-operatives have always been there for their communities; they were formed to protect them and help them flourish. 

Our 7,900 colleagues serving our Members and customers work hard to ensure that co-operative values, principles and spirit flow through everything we do to help support and improve our local communities.

Owned by hundreds of thousands of Members, we have over 430 trading outlets across 16 counties including West Midlands, Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Staffordshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Rutland, Nottinghamshire, Northamptonshire, Lincolnshire, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, Suffolk, Norfolk, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire. 

We are proud of our reputation for ethical business practices and corporate responsibility.

We invest a percentage of our trading profit into local communities through our Community Dividend Fund scheme, have donated over £1.3 million to our corporate charity partner Dementia UK and also operate a pioneering food redistribution partnership with FareShare Midlands so unsold food goes to those in need.

Visit www.centralengland.coop for more information or follow us on Facebook or Twitter using @mycoopfood

Press office contacts: Rob Smyth and James Brindle

Phone - 01543 421390

Email - publicrelations@centralengland.coop