A HEARTBREAKING report by Co-op reveals the devastating impact lockdown has had on Warrington’s ability to grieve and warns the town could face a grief pandemic.

An online YouGov survey, commissioned by Co-op Funeralcare, shows that in the weeks following the start of the UK’s lockdown, 47 per cent of bereaved adults in Warrington have been denied their final farewell.

Although a necessary measure during the coronavirus pandemic, the restrictions on the number of funeral attendees mean that many have been unable to attend their loved one’s funeral, with some councils prohibiting any attendees at crematoriums and gravesides.

With only 52 per cent of funerals proceeding with restricted attendance over lockdown, Warrington ranks among the lowest in the country for funerals which went ahead.

Not being able to say goodbye to their loved one before they passed away has affected people in the north west’s ability to grieve more than any other region.

When asked about the most important way to say goodbye, 42 per cent of UK adults chose being present when their loved one passes away, whilst 33 per cent chose attending a funeral or memorial service.

Sadly, in a bid to slow the spread of Covid-19, neither of these goodbyes have been an option for an estimated 243,000 bereaved families.

Co-op Funeralcare estimates 9.7 million mourners have been denied the opportunity to say their last goodbye at their loved one’s funeral

This inability to grieve at present means the nation could experience a prolonged period of mourning.

David Collingwood, director of funerals at Co-op Funeralcare said: “A funeral provides a sense of closure for bereaved families and is very often the start of the grieving process. Sadly, the recent restrictions mean an estimated 243,000 bereaved families across the UK and tens of thousands across Warrington have been denied the right to say goodbye to loved ones in the way they would have wished.

“We completely supported the need to introduce these restrictions at the beginning of the devastating coronavirus pandemic in the UK. We had to make some tough but responsible decisions to protect our colleagues and clients, and to fulfil our social responsibility of slowing the spread of the disease.

“Tragically, we don’t yet know what the long-term psychological effects will be for families denied the last opportunity to say goodbye, so it is vital that we do everything possible to allow families and individuals to attend funerals, whilst always prioritising the health and safety of our communities.”

Co-op Foundation has partnered with Co-op Funeralcare to deliver grants of up to £10,000 for projects that help young people to support each other through bereavement.

Organisations can express their interest in the Co-op Foundation #iwill Fund until July 31.

The funding will help build confidence, skills and a sense of belonging among young bereaved people, while helping them to make a long-term impact on their peers who have gone through similar experiences.