Bridgette Perks, a funeral arranger in Armthorpe, is passionate about animals (she’s got three dogs and a cat). So when her idea to introduce Pet Cards launched nationally across Funeralcare, she was, in her words, “elated”.
A Pet Card is an identity card you can put in your purse or wallet which raises awareness that a pet could be home alone if anything happened to you.
“I was elated because it’s such a positive thing for people, and the business,” says Bridgette. “What it tells me is that Funeralcare listens to colleagues and their ideas.”
The idea came from a funeral Bridgette arranged in Doncaster for a lady who used to adopt cats. By the time she passed away she had 20 in her care.
“Her niece came in and hadn’t a clue what to do with them,” explains Bridgette. “I just thought she’d done this fabulous thing in her life, feeding all these cats, but then she had no control over what happened to them.
“When someone passes away not all families want to take on their pets. Also someone might collapse in the street and that individual is looked after in hospital but their budgie is sat in a cage at home. Who’s going to look after them?
“The amount of pet ashes we bury with the deceased shows how important they are to people. The other good thing is the Pet Cards also let the next of kin know that something’s happened to that person.”
So how did Bridgette’s idea go from homemade cards to national launch?
At first Bridgette made the cards herself with the help of a colleague, printing them to give out to the local community.
“They became really popular,” she says. “I took them into a local rescue place, Mayflower, and they said it was a great idea.
“We also had them in the local branches and lots of clients were picking them up. I use social media for a lot for community stuff and through that the RSPCA asked for some. I even sent some to Northern Ireland and France.”
Colleagues from across the business also showed support for her idea. “I put them on Facebook and a colleague from our Insurance business got in touch and said it was an amazing idea and asked if I’d thought about linking them in with pet insurance. Food colleagues were also really supportive and said we should have them in store for customers to take away.”
Buoyed by everyone’s enthusiasm she decided to email Lorinda Robinson, Head of Marketing in Funeralcare.
“I just thought, what have I got to lose? Within about an hour I got an email from Lorinda saying she loved the idea.
“I was sent a proof of the design before they went to print to check that I was happy with them. They’re fabulous. Ours served a purpose but the new ones are a lot more professional. It’s brilliant that within six months my idea is now a reality nationally.”