Notes from Cardiff and Newport Bereavement Conference

Written by Director, Gareth Coles:

Today, I was at the Bengali Centre in Riverside for the Cardiff & Newport Bereavement Conference listening to Chief Coroner and Chair and Vice-Chairman of the National Burial Council (NBC), discuss the issues pertaining to burial and bereavement in Cardiff’s diverse community.The speakers covered a number of vitally important subjects, including:

  • The time sensitive nature of some religious funerals,
  • The Coroner’s process,
  • Making bereavement support readily available in Cardiff, and
  • Tailoring that support to each individual’s needs and beliefs.

Vice-Chairman of the NBC Chaplain Ahmed Alsisi shared a number of stories about communities experiencing difficulties due to a lack of understanding of religious customs, explaining that he is working to share knowledge, best practices and resources with everyone in the funeral industry.

There was also a long discussion regarding the current timescales for burial as Muslim funerals need to take place within 24 hours of death. However, over Bank Holiday weekends in Cardiff it can take 5 days due to coroner rules and in cases of multiple Muslim fatalities it can take much longer. In the tragic case at Grenfell Towers for example, it took 4-5 weeks.

In response to the Chaplain’s request for more efficient services, Head of Cardiff Bereavement Services’ Martin Birch said he is committed to providing:

  • An out of hours call out system, and
  • Same day burials on weekends and Bank Holidays.

He went on to explain that the cost of resourcing a standby staff of Council and Cemetery workers is a financial challenge, but that every endeavour would be made to maintain access to and availability of key people that are empowered to arrange same-day burials.

Whilst everyone at the conference was in agreement that there is more to be done to support every religious community here in Cardiff, conferences like this one are invaluable in breaking down barriers and strengthening partnerships between organisations that care for the bereaved.

Here at Coles, we have experienced first-hand the need to accommodate different religious practices and now operate a special clean and secluded facility where ceremonial washing of the body can be arranged.

If you require any further information about how we can help you or your community to arrange a timely and appropriate funeral – please do not hesitate to get in touch with us.