Help and advice at new town centre premises
- Credit: Archant
New funeral directors open in Ipswich town centre
Business partners Liam Roberts and Matt Southgate have almost 50 years experience in the funeral and bereavement business.
Now they have combined their knowledge and experience to launch their own funeral directors - Southgate and Roberts - in the heart of Ipswich.
Southgate and Roberts has its official opening on Saturday March 14 - however they are alread based at 18-20 St Matthews Street and are meeting clients, as final touches are being made to the fixtures and decoration.
Liam Roberts, 29 years in the business, started as an operative with Kenyons in London, moving to Suffolk in 1991.
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“I worked for one of the large service providers for the next 16/17 years. The last 12 years I was operations manager covering the whole of Suffolk and a little part of Norfolk.
“Five years ago I took voluntary redundancy. I set up a consultancy helping independent service providers.
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“I have known Matt for a number of years.
“We want to provide bereaved families with something a little different - give families more choice, and more control at a time when it can be very difficult for them.”
Matt Southgate started out in the funeral business, initially in Norfolk, and has worked mainly in Suffolk since then.
“We have always wanted to have our own funeral directors. We have been talking about it for a couple of years,” he said.
“We want this place to be welcoming and friendly for families. We want it to be a warm environment.”
Liam Roberts added: “We have an open door policy here. The town centre location is important for that.
“People can pop in if they want to talk about funerals. We are happy to help, without obligation.
“We have already been entrusted with nine funerals.”
Their new premises include a service room, so that funeral services and gatherings can be held on the premises. There are private rooms for consultation as well as a mortuary.
The nature of the funeral business was changing, said Liam, with many people planning ahead and committing to funeral plans.
It was more difficult for a family when their loved-one had left no instructions for their funeral.
Around 40% of funerals these days had no religious content, and some only a small religious element, he said.
So finding the right venue for a funeral/celebration/wake can be difficult.
“We can offer the funeral service here,” added Matt, “And it can be recorded so that other people can see it afterwards.
“It is an important step forward.”
Southgate & Roberts Funeral Directors
18-20 St Matthews Street