Austin's Blog

 

Austin’s charitable donations

March 27th, 2018    Author:

We believe in helping those most in need in our community, which is why we set up Austin’s Charitable Foundation. Each year, we’re delighted to be able to support a charity by donating a proportion of our annual profits along with money donated from sources including our funeral service CD and Christmas carol concert.

Since we started the foundation in 2002, we’ve raised over £100,000 for charities such as the North Herts Samaritans, Cancer Hair Care, the Hertfordshire Multiple Sclerosis Therapy Centre and Road Victims Trust. Earlier this month, Austin’s was thrilled to hand over a cheque for £5,414.30 to our 2017 charity recipient Stand-By-Me. This local community-led service supports children and young people following a bereavement and helps them to understand and deal with grief.

 

We’d love to raise as much money, if not more, for our 2018 charity, Resolve – which supports people through their recovery from alcohol or drug addiction. If you’d like to help the local community in memory of a loved one, information on how to do this is available from all our funeral offices and at Harwood Park Crematorium. You can also download a donation form

With your help, Austin’s look forward to donating money to deserving causes for many years to come.

 

[photo caption]

Claire Austin hands over a cheque to (right) Shirley Avery, fundraising trustee at Stand-By-Me and (far right) Helen Gray, foundation director of Hertfordshire Community Foundation

 

* For help and support planning a funeral or cremation, please contact Austin’s on 01438 316623.

Floral Tributes to Cherish

February 26th, 2018    Author:

Floral tributes can be a lovely way to express your feelings at a funeral. A display of colourful blooms shows love and respect for the person who has gone, and can be a great comfort to the bereaved.

After the funeral, you may want to take some of the smaller arrangements home or offer them to close family and friends. Some people may wish to donate them to a local hospital, care home or hospice – although you should phone first to check they accept floral arrangements. With larger arrangements, you could ask each mourner if they’d like to select a single flower to take away with them. It gives everyone a little memory of the deceased and the remainder of the flowers can then be placed on the grave.

There are also ways to cherish the floral tributes by making them into a longer-lasting, or even permanent, keepsake. You could press the flowers then craft them into a bookmark or drinks coaster, or place the pressed flowers into a glass display frame to hang on the wall. If you like crafting you might also want to consider using the dried flowers to make into jewellery or creating a candle. There are also companies that will do this for you.

Potpourri is another way of holding onto floral tributes. This can be quite simple to make using dried flowers and leaves along with your favourite essential oil. You can enjoy the scent at home, or make up gift bags to give to family members or friends. This could make an especially memorable present for anyone who wasn’t able to attend the funeral.

And of course, if you accepted potted plants at the funeral, these can be replanted in your garden or given to a relative who isn’t able to regularly visit the churchyard or crematorium.

 * For help and support planning a funeral or cremation, please contact us on 01438 316623.

 

Funeral flowers by Daizys

The art of ‘death cleaning’

January 17th, 2018    Author:

When a loved one dies, one of the difficult tasks you may have to take on is clearing out their home. It can feel sad going through their possessions and it may seem like you’re having to say goodbye all over again.

In Sweden, there’s a tradition called ‘doestaedning’ – death cleaning – that may help make the process easier. It involves getting rid of unwanted possessions while you’re still alive – so the job isn’t left for others to do when you’re gone.

It may sound morbid, but people who death clean find it an empowering experience. Margareta Magnusson, author of ‘The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Free Yourself and Your Family from a Lifetime of Clutter’, started her own death cleaning after her parents and husband died and she was left to go through their belongings. She found getting rid of her own unwanted things uplifting and rewarding.

Death cleaning doesn’t need to be rushed. Margareta suggests going through one room at a time and listing each item that you want to keep or part with. It’s also best to start with items that are easy to let go of – clothes you rarely wear, those extra dinner plates you never use, unwanted presents.

You might want to give certain possessions to friends or family members – perhaps a piece of china or jewellery that they’ve admired. As for sentimental items such as photographs and letters, these should be kept with you and cherished. Margareta keeps all hers in a ‘throwaway’ box – these are things that family members don’t need to sort through when she’s gone and can be simply thrown away.

Death cleaning might not be for everybody, but if you’re struggling to clear out your loved one’s possessions it might be something to think about for yourself.

 * For help and support planning a funeral or cremation, please contact us on 01438 316623.

Our Christmas present to a local charity

December 13th, 2017    Author:

It’s always lovely to help local charities so Austin’s was thrilled to hand over a cheque for £5,000 to Crossroads Care Hertfordshire North this month. It’s a fantastic charity that supports unpaid carers and their families through a range of services, including help at home, community cafes and respite care.

The donation was made possible by our membership of the Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management (ICCM), which runs an innovate Metals Recycling Scheme.  As part of the scheme, crematoriums can have metals collected from their premises, with profits from the recycling scheme fed back so that they can donate to their nominated charity.

The ICCM started its recycling scheme in 2006, following on from other European countries like Holland, Germany and Switzerland. The idea behind it was first and foremost to help the environment – which is why our Harwood Park Crematorium was so keen to sign up.

The main metal that’s collected is from orthopaedic implants, which people may have had for a joint replacement or bone repair operation. These implants are made from medical-grade metal that comes from non-renewable sources – so a huge amount of energy is wasted in mining new ores to produce more metal. With the metal recycling scheme, the implants are smelted down ready to make new orthopaedic implants.

Since we joined the ICCM’s metal recycling scheme 11 years ago we’ve not only been helping to protect the planet in this way we’ve also raised around £30k for local charities, including Road Victims Trust, Keech Hospice Care and the MS Centre in Letchworth.

Of course we understand that not everyone will want to have their loved one’s implants recycled. Some people may prefer to either have an implant returned to them or for it to be buried. Unfortunately, however, we can’t scatter cremated remains that contain metal.

We’re always sensitive to a family’s needs and when you come to us to arrange a funeral we’ll do whatever feels right for you and your loved one. If you do decide to opt for recycling we’ll ask you to sign a consent form so that everyone is clear about your wishes.

 

* If you’d like to arrange a cremation at Harwood Park Crematorium, please contact us on 01438 815555.

 

Claire Austin hands a £5,000 cheque to Andrew Taylor, operations manager at Crossroads Care Hertfordshire North

Claire Austin hands a £5,000 cheque to Andrew Taylor, operations manager at Crossroads Care Hertfordshire North