The Heart of England Co-operative Society has opened a new flagship funeral home in Royal Leamington Spa, trading under The Co-operative Funeralcare.
The facility represents an investment of £1.5m and replaces the society’s funeral home on Warwick Street, which served the local community for over 30 years.
It is the fourth new funeral home opened by Heart of England in just over a year, bringing the total number operated by the society to 13.
Darryl Smith, general manager of the society’s funeral division, said: “This is more than just a funeral home, our new facility is here to help with an ‘advice centre’ type of offering. We can advise on a range of bereavement services and offer free information without obligation for client families planning a loved one’s funeral.
“We have a team of caring, dedicated staff on hand to advise and tend to the individual needs of each and every client family. Every member of staff is trained to an exceedingly high standard and can advise on a style of service to meet individual tastes, as well as pre-paid plans and other schemes designed to allow client families to spread their payments.”
The opening follows news that Heart of England would be closing all of its non-food retail offerings to concentrate on food and funeral operations. Last year, it announced the phased closure of its department stores in Nuneaton, Bedworth, Atherstone, Hinckley, Rugby and Leamington Spa.
The closures were opposed by locals and members of the society, who petitioned for a special general meeting. “Our society has been in existence since 1884. The board has no right to sell our headquarters, and historic stores without our say-so,” said Cllr David Bill, (Lib Dems, Clarendon), who is leading a campaign against the closure in Hinckley.
According to the society, the Hinckley store had lost £1.2m over five years, despite a £1.9m refurbishment in 2010. The store closed on 23 January. The special meeting, open to all Heart of England members on presentation of a members’ share passbook, will take place at 6pm on 10 March at the society’s head office in Nuneaton.