Tamworth Co-op’s bereavement advice centre gets a facelift

Staff at Tamworth’s Bereavement Advice Centre, which has just undergone a major facelift, are reminding local people of the free and confidential service it provides. The centre in Colehill has proved increasingly popular since it was set up by Tamworth Co-operative Society in 2011. Visitors do not need to be customers of the Society to take advantage of the services available six days a week to the public.

The building has been completely refurbished with new carpets, decorations and furniture. Facilities include a newly redecorated private room for people who prefer to talk in confidence.

All the improvements have been geared towards creating a highly relaxed and informal atmosphere where people can walk in at any time and receive advice on coping with loss.

Cheryl Dutton, who oversees the centre, is greatly experienced in advising on a wide range of bereavement and funeral issues.

“Some people experience severe difficulties in coming to terms with the death of a friend or a loved one, but we can put them in touch with local counsellors who can help them to come to terms with their loss,” she said.

“Many things need to be addressed when somebody dies. It can be an overwhelming and very emotional time for those left behind. We are here to offer practical support and guidance to anybody who needs it.”

Visitors can help themselves to information packs covering various subjects and look at displays and trends in the funeral world.

New exhibits include a high quality model of a Harley Davidson with a sidecar designed to carry a hearse. There is also a coffin decorated in the colours of Tamworth football club to illustrate the extent to which modern funerals can be tailored to individual requirements.

Amanda Woodward, general manager of Tamworth Co-op’s funeral division, said the opening of the centre was a first, not just for the Tamworth Co-op, but also for the town itself.

“People seem to appreciate that they can come in without an appointment and receive free advice,” she said.

“We believe having such an open and easily accessible service in the very heart of the town helps to dispel some of the fear and mystery that can surround the subject of death. The centre makes it easier for people to discuss their feelings and receive the right kind of help and support. It has proved a very well used service. Being located so close to Tamworth Registry Office makes it especially   convenient for people who are in the process of registering a loved one’s death.”

Tamworth Bereavement Advice Centre is open from Monday to Friday 9am-4.30pm and on Saturdays from 9am-3pm. A 24-hour helpline service is also available on 01827 62094.