Supporting local communities forms one of the foundational values of funeral directors CPJ Field, a 10th generation family run business with over 328 years’ experience in guiding customers through what is a stressful and highly emotional time.
Our Community Champion work
In Uckfield, our Community Champion, Paula O’Neill, works with colleagues, partners and other local businesses to conceptualise and orchestrate engagement and outreach activities, designed to bring members of our local community together. Our knowledge and expertise of the industry perfectly places us within local communities to offer support and guidance around a ‘taboo’ subject that members of the public don’t like to engage with until they are in the moment.
Types of engagement activity that we do
Throughout the year we host initiatives such as;
• Our regular fortnightly Community Coffee mornings where we invite members of the public or our clients along to our funeral homes; Fuller & Scott in Uckfield, Cooper & Son in Cross in Hand, and Haine & Son in Polegate for a coffee and a chat.
• Providing window space for local artists to display their works.
• Partnering with the Pets As Therapy charity, to invite the pets to come along to our funeral homes to greet our clients.
Through to organising more one-off annual events like;
• Our late summer ‘More Than Just A Funeral Exhibition’ where we bring together people and businesses from all walks of life to have discussions with members of the local public around what support is available to them.
Being the second year we have hosted this free event, it is starting to get some traction locally within Uckfield and we are keen to host another event next year. You could describe the event as almost a ‘one-stop shop’ for all things related to later life and funeral planning. We invite local professionals from florists, celebrants, charities through to solicitors and local MPs to come along and speak to interested members of the public.
We also regularly run a series of fundraising initiatives such as;
• Our upcoming Winter Initiative, that we are running our East Sussex funeral homes at; Uckfield, Heathfield, Battle, Hailsham, Polegate, Eastbourne and Seaford. We will be collecting woolly hats and scarves to give to homeless people at the Winter Night Shelter and Soup Kitchen in Eastbourne where members of our staff volunteer.
Fundraisers we have held in the past include;
• Cup-cake garden parties raising money for Alzheimer’s Society.
• Easter egg collections for the Chestnut Tree House.
As well as frequently supporting lots of local groups and by providing monetary donations – we recently sponsored the Classical Weekend as part of the recent Battle Festival which provided entertainment for the whole family. We also sponsor more local events to Uckfield including; the free giveaway re-usable cups that were provided at Uckfield’s Weald on the Field, donation of an ashes scatter-er to the Parish of Maresfield and Nutley, supporting the local Uckfield remembrance bench for the 100-year centenary as well as annually sponsoring the Heathfield W.I. as part of the Heathfield Agricultural Show.
Why run local engagement activities?
Doing such activities help us to support the epidemic that is loneliness; the research report ‘Good Grief’ released by Independent Age earlier this year highlights that 1 in 5 people feel that loneliness is the hardest thing to cope with after the death of their partner. A similar message is also reflected in the policy paper ‘A Connected Society’ released by Government on 15 October 2018, where bereavement is identified as one of the key trigger points for loneliness and is something we need to tackle as a society. For CPJ Field, this just reinforces our belief that community engagement is key to helping address the loneliness and social isolation that is experienced by so many of our bereaved clients.
On top of this, our staff also express the great sense of satisfaction they get from running such activities and getting to know the local communities they serve. CPJ Field operates 39 funeral homes across East and West Sussex, Surrey, Kent, Dorset, Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and South London. Each of our areas has a Community Champion that rally our staff and local businesses to come together to both support and enrich their local communities.
For more information on the areas we serve see our website, follow us on Facebook for more on our community engagement or pop into one of our funeral homes – our colleagues will only be too happy to serve you.
Caring is who we are, what we do and where we come from.