The current facilities, while cherished by the community need modernisation to meet the needs of residents and changing circumstances, and to allow the council to expand the range of services that can be offered to bereaved families by its national award-winning Bereavement Service.
The ambition for the £3.449 million project is a full refurbishment of the Crematorium building, in a cohesive, modern and respectful style.
Among the improvements are plans to renovate and reinstate the small chapel to allow smaller, more intimate services to take place.
The main chapel will also see its layout changed, with the catafalque – the platform on which the coffin rests during the service – moved more appropriately to the front and centre of the ceremony room, rather than the left wall.
Waiting rooms, toilets and facilities will also be replaced to a modern standard.
Construction work by Seddon will take place after operational hours to ensure that services can continue to be provided to the public during the day.
The majority of the modernisation works will be carried out within the existing building, ensuring minimal disruption to nearby residents.
Councillor Andy Bowden, Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport, said:
“St Helens Cemetery and Crematorium are among our greatest assets, from the building’s striking structure and heritage, with its many original features including the beautiful ‘dalle de verre’ stained glass, to its green and picturesque, well-maintained grounds, and the recent national recognition is external validation of the valued and much loved service we provide in the Borough
“However, the Crematorium building is in desperate need of modernisation throughout. The importance of our Bereavement Services has never been in such sharp focus as during the coronavirus pandemic, and they need now more than ever to receive as much support and investment as we can give, so that they can continue to provide meaningful and dignified services in a safe, suitable and fit-for-purpose setting.
“This major investment represents our faith in the future of the Crematorium, and our aspiration to enhance the caring service provided to the bereaved and their families in the most difficult times.”
John Shannon, divisional director at Seddon, said:
“We’re really happy to be continuing to build our relationship with St Helens Borough Council and delighted to be helping them to transform one of their most valued assets. The work we are delivering at the cemetery and crematorium will enable the Bereavement Services team to expand their service offering and create a more modern space for future generations of the St Helens community.”