CIVIL funerals are to be offered by Wrexham’s register office for the first time in a bid to raise money for the cash-strapped local authority.

A number of charges are set to be introduced for people to use different services provided by registrars in the county, such as family history checks, to increase revenue.

In addition, two new paid services could be provided - a nationality check service, aimed at those who want to become British citizens, and the provision of civil funerals, which has already been agreed in priniciple with the council’s executive board.

The latter, which would be the first of its kind provided by a council in North Wales, would bridge the gap between a fully religious funeral and non-religious humanist service.

Wrexham registrar Helen Hedley said: “There’s a gap in the market at the moment.
You can have a fully religious funeral or a humanist ceremony.

“At a humanist ceremony you are not allowed any mention of God or religion.

“But often people want a celebration of life - if somebody has a favourite hymn, they can have that hymn at a civil funeral.

“We will go and visit people in their homes and discuss how they want that person to be remembered and create a service however they want.

“I think most will be in crematoriums but others will be suitable for burials, or it could even take place at the village hall.”

A number of fees are also set to be introduced for existing non-statutory register office services, including family history checks, charges for wedding and civil service bookings and wedding rehearsals.

Speaking about charges for family history checks, Ms Hedley said: “When we look at what we do in the office we’ve spent a lot of our time doing things that have ended with nothing happening. We’ve had members of staff spending time on family history searches - up to 45 minutes - for no purpose.

“In today’s climate we’ve got to look at charging people for this.”

Council leader Aled Roberts said: “A lot of these charges have been introduced in other areas. In some of those non-statutory areas in the current climate we’re going to have to charge or not do them.”

The proposals will be discussed at a forthcoming meeting of Wrexham Council’s executive board on Tuesday.