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I was excited for the chance to join Co-op, but in the run-up to my interview, my anxiety was through the roof. My friends helped prepare me by building my confidence and reassuring me I was the right person for the role, and on the day of the interview, I came away feeling understoodI had a great interview experience and felt confident enough to speak up about my mental health which led to an open and honest discussion  

My interview experience and first day showed me that mental health was important to my team and to Co-op. My team has been supportive from the beginning and helped me manage my anxieties. They helped me understand that most people are nervous about the first conversation they will have supporting grieving families through the funeral process.  

One of the reasons I joined the Funeralcare team is because I knew Co-op were looking for specific people - compassionate people who can make connections and bring empathy in sensitive situations. Joining the Co-op was a big career move for me, as my previous roles had been in factories, but the Co-op provides full training for the right person. 

Talking through tough days 

I never thought I’d get a job where I’d be dealing with the deceased so regularly. All the usual things went through my mind beforehand – how was I going to react, what was it going to be like. But it was more the fear of the unknown. It did take some time getting used to coming in to contact with deceased people. But I was keen to help my new team provide the best service to families, so this was something I could look past and helped me to adapt quickly. 

Since working in an environment where I’m providing care for people when they need it most – it’s completely brought me out of comfort zone and my confidence has grown. I’m part of a team at Co-op, and that’s something I’ve never really felt before. The team is always there to talk through any tough days or moments, and they’ve helped me come out of my shell. Everyone chips in and helps, and there is always someone to talk to.  

Supporting colleague and community well being 

It’s not just the team I feel supported by. The Co-op encourages all colleagues to speak openly about mental health and regular check-ins are encouraged. They also partner with Lifeworks to offer further wellbeing support to colleague benefits. One of the things I’m proud of is their charity partnership with Mind, SAMH, and Inspire. It’s great that we can all get involved in fundraising throughout the year to help raise funds to improve wellbeing in the community too. 

Doing this role has changed my outlook, I can’t see myself doing anything else now. The role has helped me grow in both my work and home life, and I’m looking forward to the future. 

Liam Boden, 

Funeral Service Crew  

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