20 Mar 2020

Important update - Leeds City Council Funeral Chapel Services - burials and cremations

Coronavirus Funerals/cemeteries/crematoriums

As part of steps to manage the impact of Coronavirus, and taking into account national guidance relating to social distancing, Leeds City Council has announced a number of changes relating to its cemeteries and crematoria service.

From immediate effect, no new bookings will be taken for chapel funeral services. Chapel funeral services that have already been arranged, will go ahead as planned, however, it is advised that families should be asked to consider restricting attendance to close family and friends only, so to minimise the number of people gathering. The elderly and anyone with underlying health conditions and pregnant women are particularly encouraged to pay attention to current government guidance and to consider not attending a chapel service.

Any new services booked in from today, will be undertaken as ‘Direct Cremation Services’ only. A ‘Direct Cremation’ is a funeral which is not attended by mourners and has no service. We would ask families who wish to have a service, to discuss alternative options with their respective funeral director.

Although the council does have the facility to webcast the funeral services of those already booked, we are unable to guarantee the continued provision of this service at this time. Our webcast is currently experiencing a larger than normal demand, and as such it is not possible to guarantee that this service will be fully available. Where possible, the council will seek to provide the webcasting facility free of charge.

In relation to burials, and the provision of ‘graveside services’, these burials will go ahead as planned. In line with government guidance, we would advise that families consider restricting attendance at graveside services to close family and friends only, so to minimise the number of people gathering at the graveside. For further information relating to government advice regarding social distancing, please see: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-social-distancing-and-for-vulnerable-people/guidance-on-social-distancing-for-everyone-in-the-uk-and-protecting-older-people-and-vulnerable-adults

To ensure that people affected by these changes and all issues relating to Coronavirus are able to pay their respects to loved ones who have passed away, the council will work with funeral directors to seek alternative options. One example of this is to work with families to potentially hold celebration of life services later in the year.

Councillor Mohammed Rafique, Leeds City Council’s executive member for environment and active lifestyles, said:

“We are continuing to monitor all of the guidance regarding Coronavirus very closely, and in what is very unprecedented times, we are having to make extremely difficult decisions in terms of the services we provide to ensure that the health and well-being of the public, council staff and partners and stakeholders we work closely with, is protected.

“With that in mind we have from today introduced a number of changes to the cemeteries and crematoria services provided by the council. We fully recognise that these changes may have an impact on some services for families of loved ones and we apologise for any discomfort or distress this may cause.

“It is extremely important that we consider fully the health of all those attending and staff, and please be assured we are continuing to monitor how we continue to deliver our cemeteries and crematoria services, and will make changes as appropriate. We will also continue to be in close dialogue with funeral directors to also keep them informed of any service changes.”

Updates will also be available via the council’s webpage and via your Funeral Director including details of advice regarding mourner participation at burials: https://www.leeds.gov.uk/residents/births-deaths-and-marriages/death/bereavement-services

For media enquiries, please contact;

Colin Dickinson, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 39 51578

Email: colin.dickinson@leeds.gov.uk

For media enquiries contact:

Colin Dickinson
Leeds City Council