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Bereavement support and advice for funerals

In these very difficult times, the arrangements that need to be made when you lose a loved one have changed. This is so we can keep you and others safe.

We understand that losing someone in these circumstances will be deeply upsetting and that you will want to celebrate your loved one’s life and mark their death in the way that is right for you and your family.

There are lots of people who are here to help and together we will make sure that your loved one receives the dignity and respect they deserve.

Registering a death

The process for registering a death has changed and now you can register a death over the phone. This means that you can adhere to social distancing and self-isolation guidelines.

How to register a death

From Tuesday 12th May, we will be offering a 30 minute bereavement support call to people who are booking a death registration. The calls will be made by trained members of staff and offer the opportunity for people to be supported with an impartial listening ear.

Once the call is complete, the member of staff may also be able to refer you for longer term support with a trained bereavement volunteer.

Funeral services

We understand that you will want to celebrate your loved one’s life. The government rules around social distancing mean that the number of people who can attend funerals at the moment is restricted.

We are advising families to hold a small funeral now, with a fuller memorial when the restrictions have been lifted.

To help reduce the risk of spreading the infection, funeral directors and faith leaders have been advised to restrict the number of mourners who attend funerals, so a safe distance of at least 2 metres (3 steps) can be maintained between individuals.

Only members of the deceased person’s household or close family members should attend and anyone displaying symptoms of COVID-19 will be unable to attend. It may be possible to stream the funeral via video, so please check arrangements with your funeral director.

If you can, we ask that you hold a funeral as soon as possible. This is so that we can ensure that all of those who lose their lives during this outbreak receive the dignity and respect they deserve.

Funeral costs

The Diocese of Norwich (Church of England) have confirmed that any minister’s and church fees for a reduced funeral due to COVID-19 and a subsequent memorial service, should be no more than the fee which would have been charged under more normal circumstances (excluding additional costs such as musicians and church bells). In that way families should not suffer financially by needing to have two separate services.

Emergency planning

Crematoria and burial grounds have plans in place to ensure dignity in death for all of those who die during the pandemic. This includes contingency plans for when there are higher than usual numbers of deaths. This might include extending working hours or working more closely with other crematoria.

Norfolk County Council is also setting up a temporary mortuary at the former RAF Coltishall base at Scottow Enterprise Park. This will only be used if hospital mortuaries are full and all those who rest there will be treated with the respect and dignity they deserve. Bereavement teams will let families know where their loved ones will be taken and mortuaries will only be used for a short period of time, before the person who has died is collected by their funeral director.

Support available

Bereavement Advice Centre

Telephone: 0800 634 9494 - lines are open from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

Marie Curie

Telephone: 0800 090 2309

SSAFA Forces Help

Tel: 0800 731 4880

The Samaritans

Telephone: 116 123 - lines are open 24 hours a day.

Age UK Norfolk

Telephone: 0300 500 1217

Norfolk Citizens Advice

Telephone: 03444 111444

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