By Chris Belcher, Team Manager – Loggerheads Food store
I work in a food store and I’d heard through an email about the opportunity to help out in a Funeralcare care centre, supporting our Funeralcare colleagues and other back-of-house duties. It was a business I’d been thinking about working in for the past few years – so the email and the support opportunity were perfect timing for me!
The timing was also important for another reason. For the past 12 months during the pandemic there’s been a demand for around 2,500 funerals a week. Our Funeralcare colleagues have continued to work tirelessly to support bereaved families, protect our communities, and provide the most thoughtful and unique tributes to loved ones despite the extreme challenges they’ve faced.
This was a massive amount of pressure, with staggering numbers of coronavirus deaths in some regions putting an ever-increasing strain on our care centre teams. To take some of that pressure off, Funeralcare looked to recruit around 380 additional people to help them out – including colleagues from our other businesses.
For me as a Food colleague, the opportunity to support in another business was just what I was looking for and it didn’t disappoint. Don’t get me wrong, I like my job in store, but I wanted to see how else I could make a difference.
The first time I went into the care centre, I had an open mind – I think you have to. I’d had some support upfront to understand what to expect, but you’re never quite sure how it’ll look and feel until you see everything first-hand. But I needn’t have been worried, it wasn’t eery or anything like that. I was walked around the site and given an overview of all the different roles and responsibilities – I was really impressed.
The standout thing for me was the way they treat everyone who comes into the centre – both the clients and the deceased. They go above and beyond and it’s so incredible to see. I lost my daughter a few years ago, so I found a great deal of comfort knowing she’d have been treated in such a way.
Even after my first day at the care centre, I felt so welcomed and part of their family. It was like I’d started a new job and it was my first day at work – it felt great. It’s funny, but I work in a totally different part of Co-op, but it did really feel like I was working for the same business.
For anyone who’s thinking of helping out in Funerlcare in the future, I’d say definitely give it a try – and go into the experience with an open mind like I did. So far I’ve had loads of job satisfaction and it’s felt great doing something so worthwhile. I used to think that ‘someone’s got to do that type of job’ – but now that I’m supporting Funeralcare, I’m so glad it’s me.
The experience has also made me realise how short life is and appreciate it much, much more. I’m down to support in the care centre until the end of the month and I’ll be gutted to leave. It’s definitely given me options to review a change in career. And of course it’s been an opportunity to truly work in a co-operative way across our business, supporting our colleagues when they need us the most.
Feature Image: Chris Belcher is on the left.