As longstanding members of the Toowoomba community, and with a desire to provide ongoing support services in the region, Burstows Funerals continues to introduce community initiatives.

Trevor and Don Burstow are the fourth generation funeral directors, who currently head the Burstows family business. Over the years, Burstows has pioneered community events such as Christmas Wonderland, Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea, Christmas Remembrance Services and Seniors Week functions.

Recently, they have developed new Grief Support Groups, including introducing a dedicated Bereavement Support Specialist within their team to help the community cope with grief and mourning. “We see the strength of the Toowoomba community on a daily basis, but we also know that this strength needs support and assistance to ensure those who mourn find a new purpose in their life,” Don Burstow said. “For me, what is most important in the service we offer is that we bring comfort and healing. This comes from tradition and a genuine compassion from our family and the Burstows team members to deliver a superior and supportive service for loved ones and the wider community.”

Established in Toowoomba more than 113 years ago, Burstows Funerals has community involvement at the centre of their philosophy, says Mr Burstow. This has enabled them to develop many proud associations over the years. “We have a long-standing commitment to supporting and interacting with our local communities. The grief journey is a very individual journey; we all cope differently and for most the journey is long. However the extent to which the bereaved finds new purpose and meaning in living is often determined by the effectiveness of the service and support experienced at the time of loss. It is has been a natural development for Burstows to establish the Grief Support Groups, which are run by an independent group of psychologists and fully funded by Burstows.

“The groups meet on the third Sunday of each month in our Pioneer’s Room, Ruthven Street, Toowoomba and cover a range of areas. In addition, Burstows has a dedicated Bereavement Support Specialist within the local region, offering a holistic approach to bereavement care. This specialist works within our communities supporting individuals, families, organisations, carers and professionals,” he said.

In recent years this service has been delivered in a very limited capacity but there is real need to permanently expand this role. “We have seen very encouraging benefits assisting carers, nurses and medical professionals cope in relation to stress and burnout during these very difficult times. Burstows has also developed a wide range of topics and training through this delivery which will assist the wider community with loss and grief. All of the approaches to this initiative are very practical and can be individualised to the need of those requiring our assistance.

“For us, it’s very rewarding to be able to support and encourage people, not only in their times of need but by providing them with an avenue to connect with each other,” Mr Burstow said.

Words by Graeme Kelly & Beck Borger