Funeral webcasting could finally be in place at Fife crematoria this week after the local authority was “caught out” by demand for the service during the coronavirus pandemic.
Since the start of lockdown no more than six mourners have been allowed at funerals and Fife Council threatened to ban all family from attending services after large groups congregated in the grounds of Fife’s two crematoria in Kirkcaldy and Dunfermline.
The council said infrastructure was now in place to offer live streaming of funeral services at both crematoria and it was waiting for the necessary equipment to arrive.
Webcasting is already offered at private crematoria in neighbouring areas including Dundee and Edinburgh.
Labour councillor Alistair Cameron said there had not been demand for the service in Fife until lockdown began.
“I brought this subject up four weeks ago because there are people trying to say a proper farewell to their loved ones and there has been frustration at the numbers that have been involved,” he said.
“I do realise that the webcam system is fairly normal in a lot of crematoria throughout Scotland and I suppose we have been a bit behind the times.
“During lockdown we have been caught out. It’s really unfortunate, but it’s not something I’m aware of being raised before. It’s not an issue that has been raised before because it’s not been needed.
“It’s one of the things that lockdown has shown us, that we need to be a bit more savvy with things like this.”
He expressed disappointment that webcasting had not been available for grieving families during the first six weeks of lockdown but said council staff were working to get the necessary equipment in place.
A Fife funeral director, who did not want to be named, said families would welcome the opportunity to watch funerals online, but questioned why the service had not been offered before.
“It’s been pretty frustrating. The council spent money refurbishing the chapel at Kirkcaldy and Dunfermline got a bit of work done. To me this was all cosmetic. Obviously they want things to look nice, but there was nothing desperately wrong with the carpet or curtains and they should have been investing more in technology.”
Senior manager Alan Paul, from Fife Council property services, said: “We are working hard to make this really difficult time as stress free as possible for families and loved ones within current restrictions.
“Work is progressing on our ability to webcast services. Cabling and infrastructure work is completed and we’re waiting for equipment that’s been ordered to arrive. We hope to be able to offer this service as soon as possible.”
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