New podcast launches aiming to ’empower the bereaved’

Westerleigh Group has teamed up with a funeral director to help empower the bereaved and support a wider campaign calling for compulsory bereavement education in schools through a series of podcasts.

“Death: A Changing Industry” is a podcast which was started earlier this year by Funeral Director John Adams, immediate past-President of the National Association of Funeral Directors.

John launched a Parliamentary petition last October for all school-age children to be taught about death, dying and bereavement in schools and attracted 11,322 signatures.

As a result, the Government is to carry out a public consultation this Autumn.

The petition saw John appointed as a funeral industry Advisor to Child Bereavement UK charity and his podcast, which has an overall theme of “from grief to growth”, ties into his on-going push for bereavement to become part of the national curriculum.

Westerleigh Group, which has its headquarters just outside Bristol, is one of the UK’s largest independent owners and operators of crematoria and cemeteries.

The group has agreed to become a key sponsor for the podcast, which has been ranked 13th in the world on the topic of grief, but John is aiming for it to become number one.

John said:

“The podcast is a theme of ‘from grief to growth’, and we talk about how having connection points can help someone with their grief.When someone dies, we tend to be reactive whereas, with education and more awareness, we can be proactive.

Education plays a key part in that, starting in schools. Children already see death and loss all around them, from Disney films and books to items on the news, the Queen’s funeral this year and so on.But with the right information and education, young people and children can be empowered, resulting in a move positive way forward after a funeral.

I lost my mother when I was 12, which gave me the fuel and fire to help in the future.”

John believes that schools should be required to provide age-appropriate education to help children understand death as a part of life, and they must be properly resourced to support bereaved children. He said he was delighted to welcome Westerleigh Group as a major sponsor for his podcast.

Debbie Smith, Chief Executive Officer of Westerleigh Group, said:

“We work hard with families to create uniquely personal services which can bring added comfort at a very upsetting time and, beyond that, we are able to offer a wide range of memorialisation options, from etched stones to trees and memorial jewellery and many other ways, which help them remember and honour their loved ones.

Through education and awareness – through organisations like us supporting people like John – we can help people make the right choice for them and, as John says, help them move forward from grief to growth.”

Anyone interested in hearing John’s interview with Debbie Smith as part of the “Death: A Changing Industry” podcast series can find it at:

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