East of England Co-op Funeral Services has won the Outstanding Dementia Care Innovation category in the National Dementia Care Awards 2018, which recognises the vital role of innovation in developing high quality services for people living with dementia.

Dealing with the loss of a loved one is often not easy, and when someone is living with dementia it can become more challenging for them, their families and professionals too.

To enable better support for families through the arrangement and funeral of a loved one, the East of England Co-op Funeral Services has undertaken bespoke dementia-friendly training, the first comprehensive training of its kind and unique to the funeral services industry.

The training was developed and co-facilitated by Sharon Harkin, Dementia Champion at the East of England Co-op and Danuta Lipinska, Specialist in Ageing and Dementia Care, with input from East of England Co-op Funeral Services teams.

Danuta Lipinska, said: “It was a delight and an encouragement to see and hear large numbers of compassionate, enthusiastic, open hearted and open-minded women and men who are passionate about their work. With an impressive range of existing humanitarian and specific funeral skills, we had a very positive interaction and enthusiastic engagement.”

Andrew Dawes of the East of England Co-op Funeral Services, said: “To be awarded with this accolade is a true testament to our compassionate and dedicated teams, who go above and beyond to support those in our care.”

The East of England Co-op was previously named the Large Dementia-Friendly Organisation of the Year in 2016, in recognition of its work towards becoming the leading dementia-friendly retailer in the region, including training over 90% of their workforce to be Dementia Friends.

The East of England Co-op Funeral Services was presented with its National Dementia Care Award by the former Labour Party politician, Hazel Blears at the high-profile Gala Night, attended by over 450 guests.