Northern Cemeteries has been recognised for being the most trusted funeral services provider in New South Wales as part of the Australian Enterprise Awards 2021.
All winners within the Australian Enterprise Awards are commended purely on merit; APAC Insider takes pride in discovering what makes each business stand out from its competition. They consider an organisation’s achievements over the past 12 months, as well as its’ reputation amongst its’ peers and, most importantly, the company’s presence within the market.
You may view the full list of winners online here (Northern Cemeteries is featured on page 24) or read the feature below:
Not-for-profit organisation, Northern Cemeteries, consists of five unique cemetery sites, four located on Sydney’s North Shore and Sandgate Cemetery located in Newcastle. Each location has its own distinct personality, catering to diverse communities with individual cultural, traditional and religious needs.
Northern Cemeteries provides funeral services, including burial and cremation, to all members of the community. Everyone that uses these services has the same level of care, quality and respect from the dedicated team.
“At Northern Cemeteries, the needs of those in our community is our priority,” explains Evelyn Santoro, the organisation’s Marketing Director. “We work closely with families, seeking feedback and using this to shape our services so we can deliver customer service excellence as well as cater for the future.”
Northern Cemeteries is committed to giving back to its communities. When the nation was braving bushfire in February, Northern Cemeteries helped assist Taronga Zoo to rehabilitate koalas by providing eucalyptus leaves from Frenchs Forest Bushland Cemetery.
One of the biggest challenges for families and loved ones during Covid restrictions over the last 12 months has been the limit on the number of attendees at funerals. During this time, web streaming of memorial services has become a key way to keep families connected.
Chapel Coordinator, Helen Armstrong, understands all too well how important saying goodbye is as part of the grieving process.
“Families have been separated from loved ones and this is really hard. We have been offering this service for some time now, but it has become a way of life now due to Covid,” shares Helen.
Macquarie Park has for several years provided funeral video streaming services for people who are unable to attend a loved one’s funeral so they are able to share the experience in real time online. Previously this was offered through a third-party provider for a small charge. The web streaming service is now offered free of charge to customers and the technology is supported internally by Northern Cemeteries IT team.
“It is organised through our bookings department and on the day of the service all the family has to do is to click on the link, enter the pin number and they can watch from the comfort of their homes,” Helen explains.
Since restrictions were introduced, demand for web streaming has increased greatly. At the height of Covid restrictions, web stream usage grew 800%. Though this has meant some changes behind the scenes for the team at Northern Cemeteries, it was in an excellent position as it already had the platform in place for over six months prior to Covid and the team were confident in its ability to serve families through this difficult time.
Helen continues: “The service we are providing has become very popular and is an advantage to all those overseas and interstate family and friends who cannot attend the service.”
Service recordings are also backed up to the cloud where it is stored for up to 12 months and can be downloaded at any time. They can be viewed not as a live service but at anytime from anywhere in the world.
“I see this service as invaluable to our customers and I think after Covid it will stay with us in the future.”
Northern Cemeteries has a strong focus on its most important asset – its people, creating an inspired workplace for inspired people.
Regarding the future, Northern Cemeteries will continue to meet community needs which include the desire of families to contribute to sustainability by offering natural burials. The natural burial service includes a ‘green’ wicker coffin which is biodegradable, non-toxic, and is sustainable to the environment with little impact to the surrounding area.
In a first for New South Wales, Northern Cemeteries has also recently launched an everlasting and environmentally sensitive memorialisation option which is providing a clean alternative to scattering the ashes of loved ones: Living Legacy Trees.
Partnering with Living Legacy Forest to bring the green initiative to Macquarie Park Cemetery and Crematorium, North Ryde and Frenchs Forest Bushland Cemetery, Davidson in January, Northern Cemeteries has provided the memorial option to over 40 families to date.
“The organic technology uses a unique treatment process that gradually transforms ashes into nutrients so when they come into direct contact with the root system, they help to nurture the tree’s growth,” highlights Evelyn.
Northern Cemeteries also donates 200 planted saplings to help create more air than a person breathes in a lifetime, each time a Living Legacy Tree is selected.