Burton funeral directors embark on project to transform cemetery garden to create ‘sanctuary’ for families and boost their own wellbeing

Posted by james brindle | Published: 30/07/2021

A Burton funeral home has taken over a section of Stapenhill Cemetery special to those who have lost a baby or young child and began work transforming it into a sanctuary for visiting families.

Colleagues at Wellings Funeral Home in Derby Street, part of Central England Co-op Funeralcare, have begun work at the site at the rear of the cemetery next to the Forget Me Not Garden, an area that has been set aside specially for the burial of babies and young children.

The area the Wellings team are working on had become somewhat unloved and overgrown over the years and the opportunity arose for the colleagues to help transform it.

They jumped at the chance to take on such a rewarding project and Senior Funeral Director Fiona Thompson explained what the team are looking to do with the site.

She said: “We have been given free rein really and have just been asked to look after its maintenance and the council will supply us with the plants and flowers we need. So far, we have mainly been clearing the site as there was a lot of weeds as it was very overgrown. I have been going up there for 15 years or so and it was sad to see it in that state.

“We are going to base the design for the garden on the circle of life and will have four sections for the four seasons. There is a Christmas tree up there which will be in the winter section, and it has not been lit for a few years so we will look to light that during the festive season.

“We want to give it lots of colour and make it an attractive and comforting place for families to come with picnic benches and bird boxes. All the plants will be bee friendly, and my husband is even making a bee hotel for us.

“We hope it will become a real sanctuary for families who are visiting the Forget Me Not Garden and we have already had some great feedback from people who are really happy that the area is being given some love so that is really nice for us to hear. We are hoping to enter it into the Burton in Bloom competition, which is exciting, so we are determined to make it a really attractive area.”

While the main aim for the Wellings team has been to make the garden a special place for families to enjoy, Funeral Director Sam Platt said the project is bringing huge benefits for her and her colleagues as well in terms of their own wellbeing and mental health.

She said: “The whole Wellings team has been getting involved and it has become a real passion project and something that we really look forward to and are excited about. We are often coming up here in our own time as we really enjoy it, particularly after being stuck indoors for so long.

“It is hard work, but we all feel so much better once we have been up there. It is great for the colleagues’ mental health and wellbeing after what has been such a challenging period for everyone.”


Notes to editors

About Central England Co-operative

Central England Co-operative is one of the largest independent retail co-operative societies in the UK with interests in food, funeral, floral and property investment.

Owned by hundreds of thousands of members, its over 7,800 colleagues serve customers across 400 plus trading sites in 16 counties in the East and West Midlands, Yorkshire, Suffolk, Norfolk, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire.

Its purpose is to inspire communities to create a sustainable Society for all.

It actively campaigns for the Government to increase sentencing for violent attacks on retail workers and works with FareShare Midlands and hundreds of food banks, generating enough food donations to create over 2.1 million meals for people in need.

The Society embraces inclusivity and equality and is a signed-up member to the Business in the Community (BITC) Race at Work Charter, while it is also fully committed to addressing the impact of climate change and is on track to be Carbon Neutral by 2030. 

It invests a percentage of its trading profit into local communities through its Community Dividend Fund scheme which has seen over £175,000 shared out between 116 good causes over the past 12 months.

Central England Co-op was named Leading Co-op of the Year by Co-operatives UK in 2021.

Press office contacts: Rob Smyth and James Brindle

Phone - 01543 421390

Email - publicrelations@centralengland.coop