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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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Man arrested for illegal fishing in Teifi valley

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A MAN has been arrested after environmental crime officers from Natural Resources Wales (NRW) spotted an illegal net in a mid-Wales river.

The officers were conducting a routine patrol of the River Teifi on Thursday (May 14) when they came across a net in the water.

Following an investigation carried out in partnership with Dyfed Powys Police, a man was arrested on suspicion of illegal fisheries offences in the Teifi valley.

At the scene, officers retrieved the net which contained seven dead sea trout.

David Lee, NRW’s North and Mid Wales Operations Team Leader, said:

“Thanks to the excellent work of our officers and Dyfed Powys Police we were able to prevent further damage to the Teifi sea trout population.

“We take any activity that threatens sea trout and salmon extremely seriously and this is especially true of illegal fishing.

“Nets can potentially capture large numbers of fish and given the current challenges facing stock numbers currently every sea trout or salmon taken represents another blow to our efforts to protect these iconic fish.”

Despite the current Coronavirus lockdown, NRW officers are continuing to patrol Welsh rivers and people are encouraged to check that fish they buy locally – particularly through social media – are from a legitimate source.

If you see any suspicious or illegal activity on our rivers please report it to the NRW incident hotline on 0300 065 3000.

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Mother-daughter foot patrol brings 30 year career to a poignant end for Chief Inspector

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AS Chief Inspector Nicky Carter ended a 30 year career in policing, there was no better way to do it than going out on patrol with her daughter.

And for PCSO Charlotte, taking to the streets of Lampeter with her mum was a fitting way to mark her first six months at Dyfed-Powys Police.

Patrolling together in uniform was something the mother-daughter pair had long imagined, with PCSO Carter wanting to join the police from a young age.

The 19-year-old said: “I joined in September 2019, and have wanted to be a part of Dyfed-Powys Police since I can remember. I was inspired by my mum working in the force, and thought it would be a great career.

“I’m really glad I joined before she retired, as it gave us the opportunity to go out on foot patrol in the town where mum had been the local Inspector. It was really lovely.”

Embarking on a career she’d planned since childhood, PCSO Carter took the chance to gain valuable advice from her mum – whose experiences on the frontline inspired her to join.

“Mum has told me to always treat people as I would wish to be treated,” she said. “That’s something I’ll take forward with me.”

“I’m six months in now, and I enjoy dealing with the public and offering reassurance to people in the communities of Lampeter town and surrounding areas.”

For former CI Carter, the foot patrol drew a 30-year career – starting at North Wales Police – to a poignant close.

She ended her time at Dyfed-Powys Police in her home division of Ceredigion, transferring to Aberystwyth in 2006 to take up an inspector post.

Despite admitting there will be concerns for her only child as policing inevitably comes with risks, it was a career she encouraged.

She said: “I was very proud of Charlotte wishing to join Dyfed-Powys. As I retire I still consider that policing offers tremendous job satisfaction and I know that the organisation looks after and cares for its staff.

“I encouraged her to find out about the PCSO role before she applied, and also encouraged her to attend an open evening in Ceredigion to speak to staff. I wanted her to make an informed decision to join the organisation.

“As a parent and a former officer, it is natural to be concerned about what may occur when Charlotte is at work. However, the training, mentoring and support from staff and supervisors is second to none, so that offers me reassurance.”

Looking back at 30 years in policing, CI Carter has achieved plenty to inspire her daughter – and other women thinking of joining. From being a founding member of female networks in two forces, and a committee member of the British Association of Women in Policing, she has also proudly contributed to local and national work to ensure all staff reach their full potential.

She was humbled to receive a leadership award from Chwarae Teg in 2017, and represented chief officers at the International Association of Women Police awards in Alaska in 2019, where two Ceredigion officers were rewarded for their bravery.

When it comes to passing on her wealth of experience to her daughter, the former CI urged her to always consider her own wellbeing as well as that of the community.

“The most important advice I have given Charlotte is to look after herself and her wellbeing as whilst policing is a very rewarding role, it is one that can be both challenging and stressful at times,” she said.

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Ben Lake MP “disappointed” after Agriculture Bill amendment on the standard of food and agricultural imports is rejected by House of Commons

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The UK’s new Agriculture Bill was put before MPs on Wednesday (13 May) for the final time as it reached the Report Stage and Third Reading.

Alongside farming unions and campaign groups, Ben Lake MP has lobbied for the Bill to include a number of important amendments. One of the amendments sought to introduce a legal requirement that agricultural or food products imported into the UK under future trade agreements would need to be produced or processed according to equivalent animal health, welfare and environmental standards as those required of UK prodcuers.

This amendment, in the form of New Clause 2, and which was tabled by the Chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee Neil Parish MP, was rejected by the Commons. All Plaid Cymru MPs supported the amendment and Ben Lake MP said he was “disappointed” that the house did not vote in favour of an amendment to prevent the importation of products produced to lower animal health and environmental standards, and which in turn would have supported the high standards of Welsh produce.

Ben Lake MP said:

“Without this amendment there remains no legal requirement for future UK trade agreements to ensure that any agricultural or food imports are produced to the same standards as those required of domestic producers.

“Farmers in Wales strive to produce quality food in a sustainable manner, but the failure to include this amendment to the Agriculture Bill risks undermining these efforts by keeping the door open to imports produced to lower environmental and animal welfare standards.

“I have always argued that in order to protect our own high standards it is crucial that a level playing-field is maintained in relation to imports, and that farmers in Wales are not put at a disadvantage by having to compete with imports that are produced to lower standards. I sincerely hope that this amendment will be adopted by the House of Lords, so that the House of Commons has another opportunity to support it.”

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