Council statement on funeral arrangements during coronavirus
Wakefield Council is committed to national
efforts to reduce the spread of coronavirus.
We understand that dealing with the loss of a
loved one is extremely challenging and we are continuing to support bereaved
families across the district at this very difficult time.
For this reason we have carefully considered
how we can help to keep people safe, whilst allowing families to mourn a loved
We have temporarily changed our way of working
so that we can ensure that everyone can stay safe – mourners, funeral staff,
and council staff.
Our staff are demonstrating their full
commitment to the delivery of funeral services, under the most challenging and
difficult conditions that we have ever experienced.
Sadly, as the number of funerals has increased,
we’ve needed to carefully consider and reassess how we can provide more
services to more families, whilst ensuring that everyone involved is kept safe.
We have consulted with and discussed our
approach to services with funeral directors in our district, who have all been
To meet the increased demand for funerals, we
have created additional capacity for burials and cremations.
We continue to hold burial services five days a
week and cremation services six days a week, to support families as they mourn
Our team have adjusted their working hours,
to ensure we can hold more funerals whilst ensuring all the
administrative and practical aspects involved in managing funeral services
are in place.
Under our guidance a maximum of ten mourners
can attend burial services across the district and cremation services at
Pontefract and Wakefield Crematoria.
In mid-April we took the difficult decision to
reduce the number of mourners that could attend burials from 20 to 10, because
of concerns that in some cases many more mourners were in attendance. This was
making it increasingly difficult to maintain a two metre social distancing
between people at the graveside. We were concerned about the risks for everyone
in attendance as this measure, recommended by the Government, is there to
reduce the risk of the virus from spreading. Having fewer mourners present is
effective in maintaining safety for all.
Our approach is to offer 20 minute funeral
services, which has always been an option, but under these unprecedented
circumstances is the current length of time for all services.
This means that between services our staff can
thoroughly clean the chapel, including chairs and other surfaces which could
potentially harbour the virus– as part of our commitment to keep people safe.
We ask families for their patience, as it’s not
possible to provide a traditional service at this time.
We have received messages from bereaved
families who have told us they have appreciated what we are doing at this time
to support them. We appreciate their kind words.
We've led the way in supporting mourners during
this difficult time, even when other LAs have put tighter restrictions in
As a Council we are incredibly proud of our
staff, their dedication and commitment to doing their utmost to support
bereaved families in these extremely challenging circumstances. We are proud to
be here, serving our district and our residents.
For more information on Council bereavement
services, including costs, please visit www.wakefield.gov.uk/bereavement