Hindu Cremation and Bereavement Services Project
The following is a brief overview of what the above project will contain in terms of facilities and services provision. It has to be noted that there is no blueprint for what Shanti Dham intends to establish therefore only key components have been included based on Shanti Dham’s knowledge of the requirements of the Hindu Sikh and Jain communities of Leicester and also based on the demands and enquiries it has received over time from these community organisations.
An IT ready administrative wing will be allocated for staff which will be employed by Shanti Dham in order to meet the needs of the organisation and to ensure the smooth running of all operational procedures and activities.
Dedicated office space including a general reception area will also be allocated in order to provide a fast track Death registration Service prior to releasing the deceased for preparation and cremation.
The wing will also contain consulting rooms for use by the Bereavement Counsellors or other administrative staff.
The facility will also host a training centre fully equipped with large screen projector and audio system. Shanti Dham will be involved in providing of training of staff in the voluntary and service sectors on bereavement issues surrounding the Hindu Sikh and Jain communities. Shanti Dham feels that training and education is an important part of its aims and objectives and having the facility to perform this task within the project demonstrates this commitment.
Resource and Research Centre
Alongside the training centre Shanti Dham also intent to provide a resource and research centre. This will be fully equipped with internet ready Pc’s and a library with a catalogue of books and literature on death, cremations, and bereavements. This centre will be open to schools for educational purposes and to those that attend training at the facility
With the recent changes in the demographics of Leicester and Leicestershire the Hindu, Sikh, and Jain communities have seen the community growing at a tremendous rate. With this increase the need for faith specific and faith sensitive services has also grown. Shanti Dham has come to realise that with these large numbers of immigrant families and students now residents in Leicester and Leicestershire, many are without the normal support structures behind them. During time of loss some are then unfortunately left to cope without the necessary assistance. There have been several documented examples of this during recent months. Those in this predicament are often left without knowing what to do or not knowing who to turn to in order to get help.
Shanti Dham has identified this need and will create an outreach bereavement counselling service as part of the project. Male or female counsellors will be provided to those families that suffer bereavement. An initial visit will be made in order to make contact, asses and enquire if the family require any assistance. Apart from providing emotional support the counsellors will also help with any issues surrounding probate.
Prayer and Last Rites Hall
With most housing in the county consisting of 2 down and 2 up rooms the gathering of large numbers of mourners is extremely difficult and at times dangerous. Attendance at a funeral in the Hindu Sikh and Jain community is regarded as a good and customary deed.
To ease this difficulty surrounding large funeral attendances Shanti Dham intends to incorporate a Prayer Hall within the facility. The deceased once prepared for cremation will be kept in the Hall for mourners until cremation time. This Shanti Dham feels will ease some of the difficulties faced by the family of the deceased and also by the general neighbourhood around the home of the deceased.
Bathing and Shrouding Facility
Shanti Dham intends to provide this facility bearing in mind the cultural needs of the communities. The staff will again be trained and educated in various health and safety as well as religious and cultural issues.
A mortuary that will have a capacity to store up to ten bodies. By transferring the care of the deceased to Shanti Dham we believe that the level of anxiety normally experienced by the deceased family would be greatly reduced. Similarly in the case of lengthy storage time due to an expected post mortem or police enquiry the situation would be again calmer making the work progressively easier for the various agencies involved.
A separate section within the Mortuary will be allocated for use by the coroner. This section will be fully secured and access limited to authorised personnel only. Bodies will be held until a post-mortem can be performed and released only after instruction is received by the coroner.
As far as the mortuary staffs is concerned, Shanti Dham will employ fully trained mortuary staff and follow current health and safety guidelines in their employment. 24 hour CCTV security of the site would also be implemented.
Fast Track Post Mortem Facility
Shanti Dham intends to work with the necessary authorities in order to establish a fully equipped post mortem examination theatre within the proposed facility. It is hoped that both female and male pathologists will be identified and contracted to perform the examinations on a need basis both during normal working hours and more importantly ‘out of hours’. Dialog with the Leicester City Coroner’s office will begin in order to discuss ways of establishing an out of hour’s coroner’s service. Other cities that have implemented the out of hours coroner’s service, particularly Bolton have been contacted in order to ascertain the level of commitment and resources required by the parties concerned to establish this kind of service. A report on the services available in Bolton will be available soon.