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Female funeral home staff are challenging stereotypes

A TEAM of female funeral home staff are challenging stereotypes whilst delivering care to bereaved families across Inverclyde.

Co-op Funeralcare in Greenock are breaking down barriers with two female funeral directors in the firm.

The team at West Blackhall Street is made up mostly of women - from the ambulance drivers to the manager.

Together they've been working throughout the pandemic to hep grieving bereaved families.

Leading the team at the Greenock funeral home is manager Heather Steele, who says the industry has become much better in ensuring a level playing field among its professionals.

The 39-year-old told the Tele: "There has been a real shift in attitudes over the years.

"Whereas it was taboo to perhaps see a female funeral director before, it is much more acceptable now.

"When I started in the industry and went to my first funeral, there were lots of whispers about there being a 'lassie walking with the hearse'.

"It's changed days now and here we actually have more women than men working on the team.

"Everyone each plays their role in ensuring families and their loved ones are looked after fully."

Heather, who has been in the industry for 20 years, brought colleague Angela Porteous into the business and she has since worked her way through the ranks to become a funeral director.

Angela, also 39, said: "People always ask how I got into this role and what qualifications I need, but it's really more about the type of person you are.

"I read the job description and thought it sounded like me, so I built on skills I already had and gained a lot of training on the job to allow me to take on the role I'm in now.

"Losing someone is one of the hardest parts of life, so it's really rewarding being able to help someone in that situation.

"You get great job satisfaction and it's great when families have the confidence in you to grant their final wishes for a loved one."

Both staff members say Covid-19 has been a real challenge, but it has led to people adapting arrangements.

Heather said: "Anything is a possibility and I think some people have actually appreciated the smaller numbers currently in place, as they feel the send-off is more personal.

"We are happy to accommodate any wishes people have if we can, and it has been lovely being able to work with families to create something that feels loving and unique to them.”

Angela added: "There are so many choices that can be made and we can work with people to really help show who they were in life.

"We're also currently letting families know that we'll be there if they want to arrange a bigger celebration of life down the line, when restrictions allow."


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