Wednesday 4 December 2013

Capita - turning dead babies into a profitable venture in Barnet cemetaries

Did you know that Capita now run the cemetaries in the London Borough of Barnet. The Barnet Eye has received a report that a representative from Capita, whilst briefing officials from the London Borough of Barnet commented that these cemetaries offered a huge commercial opportunity, because they had a "captive market". Apparently this statement was met with much amusement in certain circles.

This "market" includes my Dad, my mum, my grandparents, my godmother and my best friend. The grave next to my Dad's has been lovingly tended for the last twenty years by the mum of a baby who died aged 8 months. Every week she puts fresh flowers on it. There are pictures of a gorgeous looking baby, always kept clean and tidy. I have occasionally spoken to her and am always moved by her love and commitment to her child. When I told her about my Dad, she commented that she was pleased her baby was buried next to such a nice man. She said it made her feel a little happier.

This story is repeated all over the cemetary and all over the other cemetaries in Barnet. This is the "captive market" to be tapped up for more cash. Capita say they want to "improve the experience" for visitors to teh cemetaries with a cafe and by exploiting other commercial opportunities.

Am I alone in wanting to throw up when I hear this?


Anonymous said...

No. you are not alone. Is Barnet being billed for this sort of advice? What brief has Capita outside the infamous contract? I hope
(but doubt) they were slappped down. Or just slapped would do.

LBB said...


Can I offer another perspective:

I love cemeteries and graveyards. I find them incredibly peaceful and an interesting way to discover more about the history of an area. In fact when I'm abroad I always try to find such a place to walk around and explore.
We take the dead far too seriously. In life they were real people, with hopes, fears, joy, aspirations, complicated lives etc. They should be remembered as such. People don't become "saints" just because they're dead. My paternal grandparents, various great uncles & aunts and my two uncles are buried in the Islington & Camden Cemetery on the High Road. Sadly they were cremated, rather than interred. My dad's family never believed in visiting the graves; in my dad's words, "Only the shell of their bodies are there, their spirits and memories are within us, there's nothing to see there"
Whilst I agree with this sentiment entirely, I'd still have liked future passers-by to be able to read something about them and the span of their lives.

If our local cemeteries can be made a more welcoming place, with better visitor facilities I would love this. It might encourage more people to visit and find out more about the other people buried there. People should be encouraged to celebrate the lives of the deceased and learn their stories. It should also mean that the upkeep of the common areas will be improved...

Anyone else?