Residents who have lost loved ones in these unprecedented times may have experienced greater hardship than in normal life, under the necessary restrictions around funeral services.
But from Monday 11th May, family and friends of the deceased will be able to join funeral services together online as St Helens Council launches a webcasting service for cremation ceremonies.
All that is needed is an internet connection and a device that can display video, and the email invite to access the webcast. The webcasting service will be conducted via Microsoft Teams, so anyone wishing to use the service must have access to the free version of the app.
Under national Covid-19 guidelines and social distancing rules, funerals remain restricted to ten mourners, meaning some family and friends have been unable to witness ceremonies and pay their respects. Others have had to stay at home because they are in a vulnerable group, such as those with health conditions, or because they are self-isolating with coronavirus symptoms.
Councillor Andy Bowden, Cabinet Member for Environmental Services, said:
“There are many families across the borough suffering loss in such difficult times and circumstances, and who are unable to grieve and mourn in the way they’d want to.
“We’re glad to now be able to offer this webcasting service for cremations, ensuring that family and friends who aren’t able to attend in person, can pay their respects in a dignified way.”
How it works:
1. Request – the funeral director requests the service is webcast.
2. Consent – the next of kin (applicant for the cremation) signs a consent form and returns this to St Helens Crematorium no later than two days in advance of the funeral taking place.
3. Invite – from the funeral director or family member or friend organising the service to join the streaming time slot. They will receive an email link invitation that can be forwarded to others with joining instructions.
4. View – when the service begins, the camera begins streaming. The camera is positioned to the side of the chapel to view the catafalque and lectern. People attending the funeral cannot be seen unless they visit the catafalque and lectern.
If you have suffered loss and need support, there’s a wealth of information online at www.sthelens.gov.uk/births-deaths-and-marriages or call the St Helens Bereavement Services Team on 01744 677406 / 677101.