Significant improvements are being introduced at two Whitehaven cemeteries thanks to a thriving council partnership.
Copeland Borough Council and Whitehaven Town Council have joined together to introduce a string of enhancements at Whitehaven and Hensingham cemeteries.
Investment from the town council has allowed Copeland to purchase a new mower, two strimmers and a power-blower, which will improve the quality of the grass-cutting service offered. Whitehaven Town Council has also funded four extra cuts per cemetery per year, starting in the new cutting season from next spring.
Further to the increased quality and frequency of cuts provided, Copeland Council has also implemented a number of operational changes to improve the standard of maintenance at the cemeteries. This includes the introduction of a dedicated cemeteries team, improved personal contact with bereaved families, and soon-to-be-introduced new signage.
The improvements have arisen from feedback received in two public meetings organised by Mike Starkie, the Mayor of Copeland.
Mr Starkie said: “We fully appreciate the sensitivity around our cemeteries, and we’re grateful to all those who attended our meetings and have been in touch to offer their feedback and suggestions.
“We’ve taken all of it on board, and are delighted that our excellent Parks and Open Spaces Team has brought about improvements as a direct result of what people have told us. For example, the increased grass cutting frequency and new mowers we have bought are designed to reduce the volumes of clippings, which is one of the issues that was brought to us.
“We are also very grateful to Whitehaven Town Council who have once again supported their community with this significant investment which will make a considerable difference to people who visit the cemeteries.
“Our partnership with the town council continues to go from strength to strength, and we’re all working together for the benefit of our residents.”
Brian O’Kane, on behalf of Whitehaven Council, added: “Hopefully, the help that has been offered by the town council will solve some of the difficult issues that Copeland Council are facing in tending the cemeteries within the town.
“We all realise the importance in the final resting places of our cherished and loved relations and friends. Cemeteries should be a focus of thoughtful remembrance, not dispute.
“The situation will obviously be reviewed by Copeland Council, and if additional help is required in the future, then obviously the town council should listen and respond.”
Copeland Council is also in the process of reviewing its Crematorium and Cemetery Management Rules, aimed at continuing the improvement of standards. As part of this process, the council is considering asking families who purchase plots to ensure any memorials are placed at their loved ones’ headstone, rather than on the grave itself, to assist with grass-cutting.