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Cremation in Wales is like a ‘conveyor belt’

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A NEW report published by funeral provider Dignity uncovers that Swansea crematorium is one of eight in Wales that offer time slots of 30 minutes or less.

The report also found that 43% of people in Wales who had organised a cremation funeral felt that the experience was like being on a conveyor belt, and 34% of mourners also said that they were not given enough time to properly say goodbye to their loved one at the crematorium.

This is despite the fact that the research showed that for most people having a private and uninterrupted moment to remember their loved one is the most important factor in a funeral service. In the UK today, 77% of funerals are cremations, meaning that this conveyor belt feeling is experienced by mourners at hundreds of thousands of funerals every year.

The research revealed that 44 of the UK’s 290 crematoria offer time slots of 30 minutes or less, which a significant majority (59%) of people in Wales believe is not long enough. Time slots at 20% of crematoria are 30 minutes or less and 37% offer less than 45 minutes. As well as Swansea, seven other crematoria in Wales offer a slot of 30 minutes or less: Bangor; Margam; Coychurch; Gwent; Aberystwyth; Llanelli and Wrexham.

The report ‘Cost, Quality, Seclusion and Time: What do UK consumers want from a cremation funeral?’ by leading research agency Trajectory also found that 65% of people in Wales said that cost wasn’t a consideration when arranging the cremation. Moreover, the research showed that the length of a service impacted on whether people felt they had received value for money, whereas the price they paid made no difference.

Dignity is today publishing a cremation comparison tool that will allow members of the public to identify the length of time slot their local crematorium offers, as well as other key factors such as the cost and capacity of a crematorium. All of Dignity’s own crematoria have a time slot of 45 minutes or more and the majority offer 60 minutes.

Simon Cox, Head of Insight, Dignity said: “Today’s findings should concern us all. The funeral service is a critical time for people who have lost a loved one. Whether it is a solemn occasion or a celebration it is essential that we have enough time to say goodbye.

“The fact that so many mourners felt rushed at the crematorium should give pause to everyone in the funeral industry. The sector is letting down a third of mourning families. In response to these findings we are calling on all crematoria to commit to a minimum 45 minute time slot for a funeral.”

Prof Douglas Davies Director for the Centre for Death and Life Studies at Durham University said: “At a time of unprecedented choice over many aspects of life this important research clearly maps many contemporary attitudes to funerals.

“In pinpointing the image of the ‘conveyor belt’ as a popular expression of how mourners can feel too processed at crematoria it brings statistical weight to my own observations of some thirty years ago that it was not actual machinery but that sense of being processed that made many unhappy.”

The report finds that many crematoria are not providing consumers with the service or information that they need to choose the right crematorium.

In particular, the report explains that the price per minute paid for a cremation is a better measure of value for most consumers than price alone. Carried out by leading research company Trajectory, the study involved a survey of 2,022 people who had organised a funeral, focus groups in London and Manchester, as well as interviews with industry bodies and funeral directors.

The research began in July 2017 and took a year to complete. The research concludes that consumers should use six key criteria in choosing the best crematorium for them:

Not seeing other mourners – enough time in the chapel and a period of time around the service;
Keeping the absolute cost within budget;
Value – aside from cost, making sure that the service delivers the desired experience of having sufficient time to remember a loved one;
Personalisation – such as music, or video facilities;
Making sure that all the people who want to attend can attend as well as finding a convenient date and time.

A new online crematorium comparison tool based on these six criteria has been published here: www.dignityfunerals.co.uk/crematoria-comparison

Report author, Tom Johnson, Trajectory, said: “This is the most rigorous study of cremations ever undertaken in the UK. The consumer voice comes across loud and clear; the thing that people most value at a cremation is the time to say goodbye to their loved ones and at the moment not enough crematoria are giving consumers what they want.

“We hope that the six criteria for crematoria we have identified will give consumers the information they need to make an informed choice when organising a cremation.”

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Ceredigion chosen as rehearsal county for the next census

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CEREDIGION is one of four regions in England and Wales chosen by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) to take part in the Census Rehearsal on Sunday, 13 October 2019.

For the first time ever, the 2021 Census is designed to be answered primarily online. Because of this, this year’s rehearsal is particularly important as it gives the ONS the chance to test out their brand new systems and processes to make sure that everything works as it should.

Later this year, everyone who lives in Ceredigion will be asked, by the ONS, to complete a questionnaire about the people in their household as on 13 October 2019. The rehearsal will be ‘digital first’, like the 2021 Census.

Help will be available for people who find completing the online form difficult, and paper forms will be supplied to those people who really need them.

Councillor Ellen ap Gwynn is the Leader of Ceredigion County Council. She said: “The information gathered during a census is very important to all of us because it helps us to understand our population and guides our planning for the whole range of public services, such as the number of school places needed and the provision of housing, hospital and GP services and social care in local areas. The information collected is the basis of the Council’s level of financial allocation for the next 10 years. It is therefore vital that we gather up-to-date information about our population.”

“A sample of primary schools across Ceredigion who have already been contacted by the ONS are being provided with educational resource packs to inform children about the Census Rehearsal. In 2021, secondary schools in Ceredigion will also be provided with information packs but they won’t be asked to take part in the rehearsal process this year.”

“The Census Rehearsal should not be mixed up with the annual Electoral Registration canvass which is currently being carried out by Ceredigion County Council. During the annual canvass, each household receives a Household Enquiry form which is used to check who is living at an address and confirms who is currently on the Electoral Register – You need to be on the electoral register to vote in elections and referendums.”

Ceredigion was chosen for the rehearsal because it has a high proportion of Welsh speakers and includes a large rural area with varying internet coverage. Tower Hamlets and Hackney in London and Carlisle in Cumbria will also be taking part.

Director of ONS Census Operations, Pete Benton, said: “As the Census only takes place every ten years, it is important we hold an operational rehearsal to ensure that all our processes run smoothly. The people who take part will all be helping to ensure the overall success of the 2021 Census.”

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Llanbadarn Fawr – Sulien ward by-election results

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MATTHEW WOOLFALL JONES won the majority of votes at the Llanbadarn Sulien by-election held on Thursday, 18 July 2019.

Matthew, from Plaid Cymru will now represent the ward as a County Councillor for Ceredigion County Council.

The position became vacant following the tragic death of the late Paul James in April 2019.

The turnout for the Election was 38.16% with 63% of the votes going to Matthew Woolfall Jones. He will begin his position in the coming days.

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Brownies work together to increase their use of the Welsh language

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CERED: MENTER IAITH CEREDIGION have been working closely with Penrhyncoch Brownies over the last year to increase their use of the Welsh language and to raise awareness of its importance.

The partnership has enabled Penrhyncoch Brownies to receive the Ceredigion Girlguiding Vice President award which represents their commitment and contribution to the Welsh language.

Cered has been working closely with Girlguiding Ceredigion by working with Girl Guides branches as well as the Brownies. Cered’s intention is to continue working closely with Brownies and Girl Guides in Ceredigion so that they are able to offer a wide variety of Welsh language activities.

A series of Welsh activities were organised for members including Welsh song composition sessions supported by Mari Mathias, a young singer from Ceredigion.

Rhodri Francis, Cered Development Officer said: “Cered has established a successful partnership with the Brownies in Penrhyncoch which has enabled them to increase their Welsh portfolio. The Welsh song which they composed is a testament to their success, their commitment and enthusiasm towards the Welsh language.”

Wendy Reynolds, Penrhyncoch Brownies Leader said: “It was a wonderful surprise to learn that we had won the Ceredigion Girlguiding Vice President award for our contribution to the Welsh language. We always encourage the girls to speak Welsh. The composition of a Welsh song with the help of Mari Mathias in particular, certainly raised the girls’ confidence and as a result they are using the Welsh language. I am very proud of them.”

Caroline Wilson, County Commissioner for Girlguiding Ceredigion said: “The Penrhyncoch Brownies really enjoyed working with Cered to produce the CD. This was a new experience for the girls which they really enjoyed. The Penrhyncoch Brownies were put forward for an award at the recent Inspire event at Broneirion home of Girlguiding Cymru. As county commissioner for Girl-guiding Ceredigion I was invited to the unit to present the awards to the girls – it was a great honour!

Girlguiding Ceredigion welcomes the opportunity to work more with Cered in the future. We are always looking for new leaders so that more girls can have opportunities of experiencing guiding.”

Cered’s main aim is to support, influence and develop the use of the Welsh language in Ceredigion through partnership and co-operation to establish the best possible foundation for the development of the language in the society and community.

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